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By ARU Media Unit
All sixteen teams for the second edition of Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch in October have been confirmed after Tonga qualified for the opening leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series last weekend.
Finishing third at the Oceania Sevens Championship at North Sydney last Sunday, Tonga secured their place at Gold Coast Sevens - Fever Pitch, the Wellington Sevens and Hong Kong Sevens as well as the 2013 Ruby World Cup Sevens in Russia.
The Tongans join HSBC Sevens World Series core teams, Fiji, Argentina, France, Canada, Portugal, Spain, Kenya, USA, South Africa, Samoa, England, Scotland, Wales, last year’s overall Series winners New Zealand and hosts Australia for the two day tournament.
Tonga made a fortunate progression through the two-day Oceania Sevens Championships held at North Sydney Oval last weekend after being defeated by American Samoa in their first game on day one.
The side bounced back with a strong win against the Solomon Islands, 33 – 7 before going down 45 – 0 to Australia in their final pool match.
Day two was a far more successful day for Tonga, which started with a 17-15 win against Papua New Guinea in the quarter-final before again going down to Australia 24 – 7 in the semi-final.
In their final game the Tongans managed a nail-biting two-point win over the Cook Islands to secure third place, giving them the final spot in the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens and Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch.
The Qantas Men’s Sevens went on to win the Oceania Sevens Championships defeating Samoa in the Final Play-off, 12 – 7.
The results mean Tonga and Australia are the final two teams to earn their place in the 24-team Rugby World Cup Sevens tournament in Moscow, Russia next year.
Whilst both teams have been lucky enough to book their place in the 2013 Sevens World Cup, their sights are now focussed on the first round of the HSBC World Sevens Series, Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch 13 - 14 October.
Qantas Men’s Sevens Captain, Ed Jenkins said the team are using the positive experience from the recent Championships to prepare and focus on the Gold Coast Sevens in six weeks’ time.
“Now that we’ve qualified for the World Cup we’re setting our sights firmly on the Gold Coast,” Jenkins said.
“Our minds are on the job already as we haven’t won a tournament on home soil since 2002, a statistic we would like to change.”
To see the Qantas Men’s Sevens in action secure your tickets to the Gold Coast Sevens – Fever Pitch at Skilled Park on the Gold Coast (Saturday 13 – Sunday 14 October 2012).
Over 500 young men and women had the opportunity to show off their skills and athleticism yesterday, as the Australian Rugby Union’s Search for a Star took place across the country looking to identify players who may have the potential to represent their country in Rugby Sevens.