BATTLE LINES DRAWN IN NOOSA
Noosa, Queensland, September 18, 2014…With just two weeks to go before the largest international sporting tournament ever hosted in Noosa kicks off, the battle lines have been drawn.
The Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) has announced the draw for the 12 men’s and seven women’s national teams competing in the Oceania Sevens, the top-of-the-bill event at this year’s three-day Noosa International Sevens festival.
And the Australian men’s team have been thrown a challenge –they’re facing a showdown with sevens specialists Samoa in the qualifying rounds.
The 12 men’s teams have been drawn into three pools determined by their rankings in other tournaments including the IRB Sevens World Series and last year’s Oceania Sevens.
As current world champions, New Zealand have been allocated top seed status and head Pool A which includes American Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Niue.
Second seed Fiji, which finished third in this year’s World Sevens Series, top Pool B with the Cook Islands, Solomon Islands and Tahiti in the firing line for first day action.
But it’s in Pool C where local interest will lie as tournament third seeds and current Oceania Sevens champions Samoa have been ranked above Australia, with Tonga and New Caledonia also thrown into the mix.
Samoa may not grab many headlines in the 15-a-side rugby union code but the Polynesian nation is a force to be reckoned with in the fast-paced sevens and was even crowned world champion in 2010 after a run of major tournament victories in Hong Kong, Edinburgh, Australia and the USA.
Every team will play its three pool matches on October 3, the first day of the festival. The top two teams in each group, as well as the next two best-performing teams across the three pools, will progress to the knockout finals on day two, October 4.
The women’s event will see the two top ranked teams in the world, New Zealand and Australia, continue their fierce rivalry. Between them, they won all five IRB Sevens World Series titles in 2013 with the women-in-black edging Australia for the world crown.
Fiji, ranked ninth in the Sevens World Series, will be looking to continue its growth and cause an upset.
IRB General Manager, Oceania Will Glenwright said the Noosa-hosted event will be “the strongest ever Oceania Sevens”.
He added: “The Oceania Sevens is a very important event for the region as sevens continues to increase its appeal especially given the prominence of the World Series and the Olympics in 2016.”
The 2014 Noosa International Sevens Festival will be played on October 3, 4 & 5 and will see a total of 55 teams competing in men’s, women’s and Under 18s tournaments throughout the three days.
Comments are closed