Oceania Sevens: Day one wrap

by Marty Cambridge

It was an action packed day one of the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship in Suva, with the Women going undefeated and the Men setting up a probable semi-final with the Fijians.

The Women debuted three in their opening game, Emma Sykes, Shanice Parker and Hannah Southwell all wearing the gold jersey for the first time. 

The side dominated the one-sided affair and eventually ran out 54-0 winners over the Solomon Islands.

Co-captains Shannon Parry and Sharni Williams returned to the starting line-up for game two.

Again the girls showed their class as they put 45 points past Tonga who managed just the one try for the match. 

Brooke Anderson sprints away in Suva. Photo: ZoomfijiThe reigning Olympic Champions’ last game was against the Cook Islands where they again showed why they’re the number one team in the world scoring 43 unanswered points.

Emma Tonegato crossed twice in the win on a day head coach Tim Walsh praised the youngsters in the squad.

“It’s nice to set a good platform but reality of it is Day Two is where the business end is and when you want to be playing well,” Walsh said.

“The young girls playing so well was probably the biggest plus for us today,” said Walsh.

The Men also off to a perfect start with their 43 points to nothing win also over the Solomon Islands in their first match of the championships.

The win was soured though by an injury to tournament skipper, John Porch who was rushed to hospital with a fracture in his lower-leg.

Sam Caslick led the men out in their second game against the Cook Islands in Porch’s absence in what was a tight encounter.

The Cook Islands side leading seven points to five with just one minute to go before a Josh Coward chip-and-chase got the green and gold home with a 12-7 win.

Josh Coward again starred in their third game against New Caledonia.

The speedster from Queensland crossed four times as the Aussies ran away with a nine tries to one victory. 

Sam Caslick captained the men's side after John Porch was rushed to hospital. Photo: FijizoomNext the Men faced off against Samoa in a battle between two undefeated sides so far in their pool.

The Samoans dominating the physical battle and eventually defeating the Aussies 24 points to five in a disappointing end to the day.

“The important thing is on day two you drop everything that happened on day one,” head coach Andy Friend said. 

“It’s all about how you wake up and how you perform. 

“Looks like we will be in a final against Fiji which will be tough but we’ve got a young group of blokes who are willing to fight so we’ll give it our best shot.”