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Cook Islands ready to give their best at Oceania Rugby Sevens

Tuesday 7 November 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby Union, Sports


Cook Islands ready to give their best at Oceania Rugby Sevens
Members of the Cook Islands 7s team to the Oceania 7s and Pacific Games during their fundraiser at Punanga Nui Market in October. MELINA ETCHES/23101534

The Cook Islands men’s and women’s teams are ready to give their best at the 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship this weekend.

The Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship is the premier rugby event on the Oceania calendar, and it is the only competition open to all the 17 member unions and associate members from across the region.

This is the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship’s 13th edition of the event.

The Cook Islands teams departed this week for Brisbane, Australia, for the tournament to be held from November 10-12 at Ballymore Stadium.

Cook Islands Rugby Union (CIRU) says the team is in high spirit as they embark on their journey towards Australia.

“This prestigious event serves as a test of skill, endurance, and teamwork, and our team is ready to give it their all.

“We're incredibly proud of the hard work and dedication each of these athletes have shown in getting to this point. They truly embody the values of sportsmanship and camaraderie, and we have no doubt they'll represent our nation with honour and pride.”

The 2023 competition is significant due to select teams vying for one spot in each of the men’s and women’s sections for the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The Oceania Region has the current Olympic and World Championship gold medallists in both the men’s and women’s sections.

The winner of the men’s Olympic qualifier in Brisbane, will see for the very first time a fourth Oceania team participate in the men’s section at the Olympics in Paris 2024. Oceania Rugby is targeting six teams in the Men’s section and five teams in the Women’s section in 2032

The two highest placed non-HSBC Sevens World Series teams in the overall Men’s section will qualify for the 2024 World Rugby Challenger Series.

The highest placed non-HSBC Sevens World Series team in the overall Women’s section will qualify for the 2024 World Rugby Challenger Series.

The 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship fixtures 25 teams – 15 men’s and 10 women’s teams from 14 countries in the region participating. Eighteen teams will be vying for Olympics qualification.

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.

Oceania Rugby general manager, Frank Puletua highlighted the significance of these events saying: “This championship is not just a sporting event; it's a celebration of cultures, traditions, and the enduring spirit and skill of rugby players across Oceania. It's a chance for emerging and established talents to shine on a global stage and take a significant step towards achieving their Olympic dream.”

The women’s Olympic section of the tournament will feature American Samoa, Fiji, 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, Fiji, and New Zealand in Paris.

The Men’s International section will feature arguably the world’s premier sevens teams with Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand pooled together with Niue and the Oceania invitational team.

This year’s edition of the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship will see the American Samoa women’s team make their International Sevens debut.

Cook Islands men’s is pooled with Samoa, Solomon Islands, American Samoa and Tuvalu. The women’s team is grouped with Fiji, Tonga and American Samoa.

CIRU invites everyone to join them in cheering the team on and “to show them their unwavering support and make them feel their families and supporters’ presence even thousands of miles away”.

The Cook Islands 7s teams will head to the Pacific Games in the Solomon Islands from the Oceania 7s tournament.

  • Losirene Lacanivalu/Oceania Rugby