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By ARU Media Unit
The Qantas Men’s Sevens have made an impressive start on Day 1 of the Oceania Sevens Championships, finishing top of Pool B at North Sydney Oval today.
Australia won all three of their matches against the Solomon Islands, American Samoa and Tonga to progress through to a quarter-final showdown against Tahiti on day two.
Tomorrow the team will be vying to finish in the top three on the final day of the tournament to qualify for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens at Moscow, Russia.
Australia came out strong in their first game defeating the Solomon Islands 47 – 0 with Pama Fou crossing for two tries, while Qantas Wallabies 2012 squad member, Luke Morahan, also crossed the paint for five points.
Game two against a determined American Samoa side proved more of a challenge with Australia down 7 – 5 in the first half.
The Aussies fought their way back in the second half keeping the visitors scoreless to record a 22 – 7 win and keep their World Cup qualification hopes alive.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens saved their best for last running out impressive 45 – 0 winners over the fancied Tonga.
The Australians got out to a healthy lead with four tries in the first half, going into the break, up 21 – 0.
Australia’s Captain Ed Jenkins crossed the line for two tries in the entertaining match.
Day 2 of the Oceania Men’s Championships will see the Qantas Men’s Sevens take on Tahiti at 12.06pm in their first game tomorrow before facing the final play-off matches.
Qantas Men’s Sevens coach, Michael O’Connor was impressed with the team’s performance especially in the final game, saying it was a very clinical performance.
“A lot of those boys are in their second year now so they’ve had a year on the HSBC Sevens World Series circuit,” O’Connor said.
“There’s nothing like experience and they’re getting better, the more international competition we can play the better.
“This is a great opportunity for us, four weeks out from their home tournament, Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch, to get a bit of cohesion and teamwork together and a bit of confidence is great.”
Qantas Men’s Sevens Captain, Ed Jenkins, said there were some good wins today but was focused on the business end of the tournament tomorrow.
“It was good, we got off to a good start, that second game against American Samoa wasn’t what we were looking for, but to finish on that last game gives us a pretty good platform leading in to tomorrow,” Jenkins said.
“We definitely improved as the day has gone on and that’s what we’re looking for really.
“The win against Tonga was certainly a good way to finish the day.
“I guess tomorrow is going to be a lot tougher, so that’s where we’ve really got to step it up a notch.”
Day 2 of the Oceania Sevens is set to be full of thrilling action with two spots at the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Russia up for.
Tonga, Papua New Guinea and American Samoa will also be fighting for the sixteenth and final team spot at Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch in October.
Play-off action tomorrow at North Sydney Oval kicks-off at 11.00am with the final Championship match at 3.20pm.
Tickets are just $15 for adults, $10 for concession and $5 for children. Get your tickets from www.proticket.com.au.
Results from Day 1 and tomorrow’s Day 2 draw are detailed below.
Oceania Sevens Championships Day 1 Results – Saturday 25 August 2012
Papua New Guinea 24 defeated Cook Islands 12 (Pool A)
Samoa 47 defeated Tahiti 0 (Pool A)
Tonga 7 defeated by American Samoa 14 (Pool B)
Australia 47 defeated Solomon Islands 0 (Pool B)
Papua New Guinea 64 defeated Tahiti 0 (Pool A)
Samoa 26 defeated Cook Islands 24 (Pool A)
Tonga 33 defeated Solomon Islands 7 (Pool B)
Australia 22 defeated American Samoa 7 (Pool B)
Cook Islands 66 defeated Tahiti 0 (Pool A)
Samoa 46 defeated Papua New Guinea 12 (Pool A)
American Samoa 34 defeated Solomon Islands 12 (Pool B)
Australia 45 defeated Tonga 0 (Pool B)
Oceania Sevens Championships Day 2 Draw - Sunday 26 August 2012
Samoa v Solomon Islands
Papua New Guinea v Tonga
Cook Islands v American Samoa
Tahiti v Australia
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
Qantas Australian Sevens player Shannon Walker will play his first tournament in over a year when he lines up for the National Indigenous side at this weekend’s National Sevens Championships in Narrabeen, Sydney.