In a first for the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championships the pools were randomly drawn  Thursday at a Media Conference organised by Oceania Rugby at Fiji’s Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva.
 
The top four seeded Men’s Teams and two  Women’s teams were allocated the top spot in each pool, with the remaining spots in each pool drawn randomly in accordance to the bands of teams ranked 5-8, 9-12 and 13th in the Men’s section, and 3-4, 5-6, 7-8 in the Women’s section. The rankings were determined by the 2017 Oceania Rugby and HSBC Seven World Series placings.
 
The draw was facilitated by Bruce Cook, Rugby Services Manager Oceania – World Rugby, conducted by Mere Rakoroi, Fiji Rugby Union Board Member, and Peter Mazey, Executive Chairman of the Fiji National Sports Commission.
 
Ahead of the draw Mr Bruce Cook said that the best in the world of 7s are coming to Suva this November. He said a total of 21 Teams will converge in Suva from the week of Monday the 5th of November with the opportunity for every Fijian to see their sevens heroes play international teams at home.
 
“This is very rare and the Oceania Sevens Championship provides every Fijian with this opportunity,” Cook said.
 
“We are also excited to mention today that the 2018 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship provide qualification opportunities for non-core teams into the HSBC Sevens World Series for 2018/2019 period,” Mr Cook added.
 
The Oceania Rugby teams who have pre - qualified for the HSBC SWS 2018/2019 are as follows - Australia, Fiji, New Zealand and Samoa in the men’s competition and Australia, New Zealand and Fiji in the women’s Competition.
 
 “We’ve got Papua New Guinea and Solomon’s Islands in with us and so it’s obviously going to be tough – as these teams particularly Papua New Guinea have been playing a tough game and have done well in the competitions in the HSBC World Sevens Series that they’ve been involved in,” Fiji Airways Men’s Sevens Coach Gareth Baber said at the event .
 
Coach Barber said naturally we look at the other seeded teams as the immediate competition for us like New Zealand, Australia and Samoa and this gives you an impression of the level of competition we’ll have here.
 
“I am sure all teams will be of the same mind, because we need that level of competition consistently as possibly to produce what we need,” Coach Baber added.
 
“I am looking forward to seeing how our training has gone and the plan that we have. Last year it worked for us in terms of winning and launching us into the series but we have to go one further this year with a view of winning that series as well -  so it’s going to be a great competition with some good level,” Coach Baber said.
 
“My message to all Fijians is please come out and support us as this is an opportunity for our Fiji sevens ambassadors to play here against some of the world’s best; you’ve got the World Champions, the Commonwealth Champions and us as the Olympics champions – there is no other region that can boast that.
 
“For the kids to come in for free is a huge initiative – in terms of getting them the opportunity to see the levels these players can play at – and for Fiji it’s a huge asset,” Coach Barber commented.
Oceania 7s pools
 
Men’s Grade 
 
Pool A – Fiji, PNG, Solomon Islands
Pool B – New Zealand, New Caledonia, Nauru
Pool C – Australia Cook Islands, Vanuatu
Pool D – Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Niue
 
Women’s Grade 
 
Pool A – Australia, PNG, Samoa, Nauru
Pool B – New Zealand, Fiji, Cook Islands, New Caledonia
 
MEN’S QUALIFICATION 
 
The 1st highest placed non-core team in the 2018 Oceania Rugby Sevens Men’s Championship will (a) Qualify as the 16th team to the 2018/2019 HSBC Word Sevens Series Legs in Hamilton (January 26 – 27, 2019) (b) Qualify as the 16th team to the 2018/2019 HSBC Word Sevens Series Legs in Sydney (February 2 – 3, 2019) and (c) Qualify for the 2020 HSBC Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong (April 5th - 7th, 2019)
 
The 2nd highest placed non-core team in 2018 Oceania Rugby Sevens Men’s Championship will qualify for the 2020 HSBC Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong (April 5th - 7th, 2019).
 
WOMEN’S QUALIFICATION 
 
The 1st highest placed non-core team in the 2018 Oceania Rugby Sevens Women’s Championship will qualify as (a)  the Invitational team to the 2018/2019 HSBC Word Sevens Series Legs in Sydney (February 2 – 3, 2019) and (b) the 2020 HSBC Sevens Series Qualifier in Hong Kong (April 5th - 7th, 2019).

SOURCE: OCEANIA RUGBY/PACNEW

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