Oceania Sevens: Golden girls strike gold again

by Marty Cambridge

This year keeps getting better for our Rio Olympics golden girls after they took out the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship in Fiji on Saturday, while the Men’s Sevens team finished strongly to take third place. 

The Olympic champions got off to a perfect start on day two with a 46-0 thrashing of Samoa. 

Speedster Tiana Penatani crossed four times with Emma Tonegato getting two of her own.

“We treated it like a quarter-final and a Day Two game one is always the hardest to get up for so we were really happy with the win,” Penatani said. 

The Women kept the momentum up and showed that their defence was rock solid in their second match on Day Two against Papua New Guinea. 

They piled on seven tries to nil in another dominant display and sealed their place in the final against Fjii who also got through to the final undefeated.

“I thought all the girls played really well, it was nice to have the Olympic gold medalists with their experience, a couple of debutants and some girls still doing their apprenticeships.” -Tim Walsh 

But the 2016 World Series Champions proved far too strong defeating the host nation 31-0 in the final.

In a remarkable statistic, the girls conceded just one try in their six games over the weekend.

“I thought all the girls played really well, it was nice to have the Olympic gold medalists with their experience, a couple of debutants and some girls still doing their apprenticeships,” head coach Tim Walsh said.

“A very good start to the season at Central Coast and backing it up here at the Oceania Champs,” co-captain Shannon Parry said. 

“Off to Dubai in a couple of weeks and hopefully we can get another trophy in the cabinet.”

The Men’s team had a tough road on Day Two after dropping one of their pool matches, coming up against hosts and 2016 World Sevens Series and Olympic champions Fiji in their semi-final.

In a physical clash, the Aussies hit the front at the start of the second half through a try to Sam Croke, but eventually went down 19-7.

“It was a tough game but we spoke about taking the game to those guys, they’re a class team and I think we did that,” Croke said.

“It was just a few skill errors that let us down and we will fix those.”

The Aussies played Papua New Guinea in the third-place playoff and proved far too strong for their Pacific counterparts, taking the bronze medal match 25-0.

“Third place? We would have liked to be a couple higher but we’ll take third.” - Andy Friend 

“I said to the boys before that game the way we perform in this last one will define our tournament, I thought the boys were very, very good in the last 14 minutes,” head coach Andy Friend said. 

“It’s nice having some depth in the squad and as a team we grew throughout the tournament.

“Third place? We would have liked to be a couple higher but we’ll take third.”

Fiji won the Men’s section of the championship defeating Samoa 28-19 in the final.

 

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