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Olympic qualification on the line with 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship

The Fiji women are reigning Olympic medallists having claimed bronze in Tokyo

Rugby Sevens will once again be on the Olympic programme at Paris 2024 with the world’s 12 best men’s and women’s teams competing at the iconic Stade de France in Saint-Denis from 24 to 30 July 2024.

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With qualification for Paris on the line, Brisbane’s Ballymore Stadium is all set to host the 2023 edition of the annual Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship on 10-12 November.

The three-day tournament will feature 25 teams, 15 men’s and 10 women’s teams, from 14 countries in the region.

The top placed men’s and the top placed women’s teams in the Olympic qualification sections of the 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship will qualify to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

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The tournament draws will comprise both an International (pre-qualified Paris 2024 and non – IOC teams) and Olympic section (teams vying for Paris 2024 qualification) and will be played concurrently over three days.

The initial stages of the draw in the Olympic section are designed to satisfy Olympic Qualification criteria before the draws are merge into the overall Oceania Rugby Sevens crown deciders.

The women’s Olympic section of the tournament will feature reigning Olympic bronze medallists Fiji, American Samoa, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu all vying for the sole qualification spot to Paris 2024.

The men’s Olympic section will see these national teams and others battle it out for a final spot joining Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, the double Olympic champions who are aiming for a historic hat-trick in Paris.

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The top Pacific Island nations, Tonga, Fiji, and Samoa, are buzzing for some game time after a long break from the HSBC SVNS Series and World Rugby Challenger Series.

Tonga in particular will be seizing the opportunity to create history and qualify for the 2024 Paris Olympics for the first time for their island nation. Men’s Sevens Coach Tevita Tuifua said securing a direct Olympics qualification spot would mean more than just a sporting achievement.

“It represents not only a chance to showcase our talent on the global stage but also a testament to the hard work and dedication of our players, support staff, Tonga Rugby Union, and government. It would be a source of inspiration for our entire nation.”

Like Tonga, Samoa’s Men’s Coach, Brian Lima, says making it to Paris is at the top of the agenda for his men.

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“We have been preparing well since the end of the HSBC series, despite losing some of our key players like Vaa Maliko. Although we were extremely disappointed that we missed out on automatic qualification, we are aware that the Oceania 7s is perhaps our best chance to qualify, with New Zealand, Fiji, and Australia having already qualified. It is critical that we make use of this opportunity because, should we fail, the chances will be even more difficult, with South Africa, Great Britain, and Ireland also vying for the remaining spots in the final Olympic repechage next year”.

Fijiana 7s Coach Saiasi Fuli said they will use this competition as a platform to gain some game time while keeping an eye on the prize.

“It’s a massive opportunity for us as a team to prepare well and play in these upcoming Oceania 7s. We are into our preseason phase, and our girls are looking forward to playing in the Oceania 7s and trying to secure a spot for the Paris Olympics. We missed out on the series until the final day in Toulouse, and we as a group had set our goal to rest well, recover, and prepare for the qualification.”

Across three days of competition, 66 matches (35 men’s and 31 women’s matches) will be played in thrilling sevens action.

There will be an exciting raft of entertainments during the three days, with DJs representing their different islands nations, like Samoan DJ Masini, Fijian DJ Bailey, Fijian, Tongan, DJ Bawlin, and Cook Islander DJ GZ, performances from the artist JSQE, who is half Samoan and Fijian and many others

With tickets now on sale, fans can buy Oceania Sevens tickets here.

The action kicks off at 12.00 p.m AEST local time on day 1 on Friday, November 10, when Samoa take on Nauru in the women’s competition.

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