The Kukis will square off against Papua New Guinea on November 10, before taking on New Zealand and Tahiti later in the day.
This tournament is a milestone one for women as the draw will have the women’s championship final as the “finale” game, a first for the tournament.
Asked about the change to the finals arrangement, Oceania Rugby president Richard Sapias said careful consideration had been taken for Oceania Rugby to depart from the traditional finals sequence of ending a tournament with the men’s final.
“Oceania Rugby believes this is a clear indication it is serious about increasing opportunities for participation and leadership for women and girls across the region.”
“Rugby is one of the most popular and iconic sports in the Pacific,” said UN Women Fiji Multi-Country Office (MCO) representative Aleta Miller.
The Oceania Rugby Sevens Championships is a perfect platform to encourage women’s equal participation in sport.”
“We welcome Oceania Rugby’s decision to swap the traditional finals sequence as a clear demonstration of its strong commitment to gender equality in rugby and ensuring equal participation for women and girls.
Said World Rugby general manager (women’s rugby) Katie Sadleir: “Oceania Rugby’s decision to position the women’s final as the highlight at the 2017 Oceania Sevens Tournament demonstrates their strong commitment to accelerate the development of women in rugby.
“Oceania Rugby has developed a number of exciting strategic partnerships, including UN Women, to support the growth of women in rugby, which World Rugby applauds. This latest strategic decision provides a fantastic opportunity to profile the exceptional talent that exists in the region.”
Fiji’s Minister for Youth and Sports, Honorable Laisenia Tuitubou, commended the initiative. He said the Government of Fiji’s strongly supports women in achieving their dreams.
“Participation in sport enables women and girls to enjoy freedom of expression and movement and increase their self-esteem and self-confidence.”
This tournament will be hugely important for the women’s side, as they have their sights set on the World Rugby Sevens World Cup to be held next year in San Francisco.
The male Kuki’s, meanwhile, have the enviable challenge of having New Zealand in their pool, as well as Nauru, who they will face first. - OR/ CL