The Oceania Women’s Sevens Championship will be held in Fiji on the weekend of August 3 as sides in the region aim to qualify for the Sevens World Cup next year.
Reigning world champions Australia (pictured) together with runners-up New Zealand are at the event though they have already qualified for the World Cup.
Pacific Games gold medallists Fiji and reigning Asia-Pacific Women’s Sevens champions Papua New Guinea will also feature in the nine team tournament with the top three placed teams qualifying directly for RWC Sevens 2013.
Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Tonga make up the remaining teams.
As well as being the regional qualifier for Rugby World Cup Sevens 2013, the Oceania Women’s Sevens Championship will also be the regional qualifier for the Asia-Pacific Women’s Sevens Championship to be held in Borneo in August-September. The top three teams will join defending champions Papua New Guinea in Borneo.
Oceania Women’s Development Officer Elenoa Kunatuba believes the tournament is an important step in the growth of Women’s Rugby in the region.
“We are now just four years out from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games and it is important that we have high quality international competitions for our region’s teams to prepare not only for Rio but, of course, for Rugby World Cup Sevens next year as well,” she said.
“Australia and New Zealand performed exceptionally well at the last Rugby World Cup Sevens in 2009 and it is vital that we build on that performance by providing a stage for all our members to prepare to the best of their abilities.”
Fiji Rugby Union CEO Manasa Baravilala added: “We’re thrilled to be able to welcome the region’s best and finest women players to a tournament which we firmly believe will be world class both on and off the field.
“As a Union I firmly believe our own women have as much talent as our men, in the abbreviated code, and with an eye on the Olympics I am certain Fiji’s players will give a very good account of themselves in what is certain to be a thrilling tournament.”
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