IRB – For the first time in the tournament’s history, the All Black Sevens are set to compete in Oceania’s regional Sevens competition.
The Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU) has announced that the 2014 Oceania Sevens will be played on 3-4 October, alongside the Noosa International Sevens on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast.
One week before the kick-off of the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series, on 11-12 October on the Gold Coast, the regional showpiece provides the perfect preparation and launch pad.
The New Zealanders join fellow World Series men’s core teams Fiji, Australia and Samoa, who are the reigning champions having beaten Fiji 31-17 in Suva in the 2013 final.
In addition to a high-class men’s event, seven teams will compete in the women’s tournament, including Women’s Sevens World Series champions New Zealand and runners-up Australia. Fiji, who caused the upset of the tournament last year by beating New Zealand in the semi-finals, will be looking to go one better in 2014 after losing to Australia 22-5 in the final.
The strength of the tournament reflects the growing rise of Sevens rugby across the world as the 2016 Brazil Olympic Games tournament edges closer.
While in 2015 the Oceania Sevens will be a direct qualifier for one team into the Olympics, the 2014 tournament offers a route onto this season’s HSBC Sevens World Series. The top performing non-core men’s team will play at the Wellington and Hong Kong rounds of the Series in 2015, while in Hong Kong they will also be joined by the second-ranked non-core team.
The top four nations in the 2014/15 HSBC Sevens World Series will qualify directly for the 2016 Olympic Games.