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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Men’s Sevens team are preparing for this weekend’s Oceania Sevens Championships in the hope of securing a place at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Moscow, Russia.
The Oceania Sevens Championships will be hosted at North Sydney Oval this Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 August.
Assembling at the Sydney Academy of Sport and Recreation Centre in Narrabeen yesterday morning, the Qantas Men’s Sevens team have entered a week-long training camp in preparation for this weekend’s tournament.
Australia will face the Solomon Islands, American Samoa and Tonga in pool play on Day 1 before entering the play-offs on Sunday.
Needing to qualify in the top three to secure their place at The Rugby World Cup Sevens the Qantas Men’s Sevens will be out to ensure they leave nothing to chance.
New Zealand, Fiji and Samoa have already qualified for the Rugby World Cup Sevens meaning only two spots from this weekend’s Oceania tournament remain.
Qantas Men’s Sevens coach, Michael O’Connor, said it was a big occasion for the Australians and encouraged supporters to get to North Sydney Oval to cheer the side on.
“It’s a very important tournament for us as we need to qualify and I think the team appreciate that,” O’Connor said.
“Having the next five days together in preparation is handy.
“It will be tough but we have played these tournaments before, in Darwin the year before last we came first and last year when we took the side to Samoa we finished fourth.”
Following Rugby Sevens inclusion in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio the stakes are even higher with the path to Olympic Gold made easier with Rugby World Cup Sevens qualification.
“Not only is there the pressure of qualification for the World Cup, this weekend is also a crucial step in the ranking process of the Olympics in four years,” O’Connor said.
“We need to ensure our ranking is high enough for the Olympics in 2016 now that Rugby Sevens has been included.
“Only twelve sides get to go to the Olympics so every game and every tournament from here on in will be critical in ensuring Australia is at the Olympics in Rio.”
The Oceania Sevens will also act as a qualifier for the sixteenth and final team spot for part of the upcoming 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series.
Both the Qantas Men’s Sevens and Samoa have already secured their place in the HSBC World Series, which kicks off on the Gold Coast on Saturday 13 and Sunday 14 Ocotber with Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch.
Tonga, Papua New Guinea and American Samoa will all be out to secure the final spot at the Gold Coast tournament in October.
Tickets to day one of the Oceania Sevens are just $15 for adults, $10 for concession and $5 for children with action kicking off at 11:00am.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens will play their first game against the Solomon Islands at 12.06pm, before facing off against American Samoa at 1.43pm and Tonga at 3.20pm on Saturday.
Play-off action on Sunday kicks-off at 11.00am with the final Championship match at 3.20pm.
The full tournament draw is included below.
Tickets to the Oceania Sevens Championships are available at www.protickets.com.au or available at the gate on the day.
Oceania Sevens Championships 2012 Draw
Saturday 25 August 2012
Papua New Guinea v Cook Islands (Pool A)
Samoa v Tahiti (Pool A)
Tonga v American Samoa (Pool B)
Australia v Solomon Islands (Pool B)
Papua New Guinea v Tahiti (Pool A)
Samoa v Cook Islands (Pool A)
Tonga v Solomon Islands (Pool B)
Australia v American Samoa (Pool B)
Cook Islands v Tahiti (Pool A)
Samoa v Papua New Guinea (Pool A)
American Samoa v Solomon Islands (Pool B)
Australia v Tonga (Pool B)
Sunday 26 August 2012
1st Pool A v 4th Pool B
2nd Pool A v 3rd Pool B
3rd Pool A v 2nd Pool B
4th Pool A v 1st Pool B
Loser Match 13 v Loser Match 15
Loser Match 14 v Loser Match 16
Winner Match 13 v Winner Match 15
Winner Match 14 v Winner Match 16
7th v 8th playoff – Loser Match 17 v Loser Match 18
5th v 6th playoff – Winner Match 17 v Winner Match 18
3rd v 4th playoff – Loser Match 19 v Loser Match 20
Final – Winner Match 19 v Winner Match 20
Tom Kingston was nearly a Sevens player five years ago, just as he entered the professional rugby ranks.