Fiji to host women's 7s RWC qualifiers
08 May, 2012
The stage has been set for Fiji to host the Women’s Oceania qualifier for the 2013 Sevens Rugby World Cup in Moscow. The tournament had initially been scheduled to be held in Australia, but an apparent lack of interest to host the event from the Australian Rugby Union prompted the IRB to ask the Fiji Rugby Union to host the event at Lautoka’s Churchill Park.
The tournament will show case women’s rugby from around the region as eight teams will battle it out for the third Oceania spot to join Australia and New Zealand, who have already qualified for the World Cup. There is also a possibility that, having given up the rights to host the tournament, the ARU may send the Australia team to participate in the qualifiers.
Fijiana coach Elenoa Kunatuba says they are in the process of finalizing trial dates for the national team.
“We’re looking at maintaining the same team from last year’s squad, but some have been dropped, so with the secondary schools tournament coming up, I will be able to pick girls from there to join the training squad” she said.
Fiji will be up against Pacific rivals Samoa and Papua New Guinea which Kunatuba says will be tough. The three teams last met at the 2011 Pacific Games, where Fiji won gold.
“Papua New Guinea beat China last year in the Asia Pac Tournament while Samoa’s players are undergoing rigorous training and competition under the auspices of their high performance unit in Apia.” Kunatuba said.
Winning the Women’s Oceania qualifier is only a stepping stone for the Fijiana as they will also have to win the Asian World Cup qualifier in Pune in India in October to book a spot for the 2013 World Cup.
The Women’s Oceania qualifier is scheduled for 3-4 August at Lautoka’s, Churchill Park.