Aussies draw Fiji in Oktoberfest Sevens

by RUGBY.com.au staff

Australia will compete in pool C of the Oktoberfest 7s on September 29 and 30, alongside Chile and Ireland, and Olympic champions Fiji.

The Fijians, last year’s World Series bronze medalists, will provide the main threat to the Australians to finishing top of the pool.

Chile only took part in the Americas’ World Series events in 2016-17, gaining one point in Las Vegas and five in Vancouver, while Ireland failed to compete in any of the 10 events.

Pool A will feature Olympic bronze medalists and last year’s World Series champions South Africa, alongside France, Portugal and Spain, while pool B includes the hosts Germany, silver medalists England, and Argentina and Uganda.

After sweeping a series against a recently-relegated Japan squad in Mackay, the Aussies will relish the opportunity to test themselves against sevens giants Fiji, as well as emerging nations such as Chile and Ireland.

While not yet a World Series event, the Oktoberfest 7s will take on the feel of one, featuring many of the world’s best nations playing in a similar format to that which is seen on the international circuit.

The two-day invitational will combine German tradition and ingenuity for the biggest rugby event the country has ever seen.

The picturesque city of Munich will play host, a logical choice given it is the host of the Oktoberfest celebrations and a sporting hub, home to the 1972 Olympics and FC Bayern Munich.

The tournament will be held at the city’s Olympiastadion, which holds 69,000, and will run alongside the world-famous Oktoberfest, held just 15 minutes from the ground.

More than four million people tuned in to watch Fiji win gold in Rio in 2016, despite the post-midnight slot, in a sign the sport is gaining popularity in Germany.

This also meant the German sevens team gained access to the country’s elite training facilities for the first time, reserved only for Olympians.

Germany came extremely close to qualifying for this year’s circuit in the promotion final against Spain in 2016.

There will also be a “social tournament”, an amateur rugby competition in which anyone can enter a team, that has been held at Munich’s Oktoberfest since 1978, and will now align with the Oktoberfest 7s.

The Oktoberfest 7s kick off on Friday September 29.