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Cook Islands Sevens ready to shine

Friday 10 November 2023 | Written by CI News Staff | Published in Rugby Union, Sports


Cook Islands Sevens ready to shine
Cook Islands skipper Stephen Willis and Manea Poa with captains of teams competing at this weekend’s Oceania Sevens in Brisbane. WORLD RUGBY/ 23110922

The Cook Islands men’s and women’s rugby teams entered the Oceania Sevens Championship 2023 yesterday on high morale, eager to put their best performance forward in the three-day tournament.

The tournament, featuring 25 teams, is being held at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane, Australia.

Cook Islands played Fiji in their opening Women’s Olympic qualifier match before taking on American Samoa in game two yesterday. The results of the matches were not available when this edition went to press last night. Cook Islands will play Tonga in their third and final pool match today.

In the men’s competition, the Stephen Willis-skippered Cook Islands side took on Tuvalu last night in their only game on day one. The national side will play American Samoa, Solomon Islands, and Samoa in their remaining matches today.

Cook Islands Rugby Union’s Harriet Tuara told Cook Islands News from Brisbane yesterday: “The morale at the camp is remarkably high, with everyone feeling enthusiastic and eager for Day One. We have made all the necessary preparations to ensure a smooth start. The ladies have undergone rigorous training, and it’s time to witness their talent and teamwork unfold on the field.”

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 Olympic 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.