Fijiana Qualify for the Rio Olympics

Telecom Fijiana Qualify for the Rio Olympics 2016



What a way for our Telecom Fijiana girls to confirm their tickets to Rio! Six-out-of-six wins and a clean sheet over the two days of the World Rugby Oceania 7s qualifying tournament in Auckland, New Zealand on the 14th and 15th November 2015, without any of the opposition teams scoring a single point against Fiji.

Way to go girls!

In fact, many teams did not make it into our Telelcom Fijiana 22M area and some did not make it out of their half of the field as Telecom Fijiana piled on the points based on an impressive and impregnable defensive platform, to keep all-comers at bay.

Captain Anna Maria Roqica was inspirational and unequalled in battling for the ball at the breakdown all day, against much bigger opposition forwards most of the time and she always came up tops. Her knowledge of the rules and accuracy in application, coupled with her sheer determination easily made Roqica our pick for Player of the Tournament.

More than on a couple of occasions each day, Roqica’s turnover of opposition ball deep in Fijiana territory, not only saved a certain try by the opposing team, but with quick hands and pace to burn, inevitably led to many Fijiana tries at the other end of the field of play – heartbreaking for opposing teams.

Lanky Litia Naiqato was all pumped up and menacing, whenever she broke free, carrying the ball in one hand; her long strides chewing up huge chunks of territory in quick time, attracting hordes of defenders so that she could offload to team mates to score tries, much like Pio Tuwai or Semi Kunatani – what a player – headband, tatts and all – go girl.

Former Australian Womens rugby 7s Captain, with proud Rotuman heritage, Rebecca Tavo, showed glimpses of her class and rugby nouse, honed in Australia over the years, as she time and again, calmly summed up the state of play and distributed the ball with skill and vision for her fellow Fijiana backs to run in try after try after try.

Fijiana Rover, Rusila Naqasau showed off her full array of finishing skills to beat her opposition markers all day; capping her stand-out performance with four tries in the final, while goose-stepping flyer, Tima Ravisa was always a threat out wide as they ran in some beautiful long-range tries that had households cheering loudly back home in Fiji.

Telecom Fijiana results at the World Rugby Oceania 7s

  • Final: Fiji 55 – 0 Samoa
  • Semifinal: Fiji 58 – 0 PNG
  • Pool Games: Fiji 43 – 0 PNG
  • Fiji 41 – 0 Samoa
  • Fiji 62 – 0 Tonga
  • Fiji 48 – 0 Cook Islands

New Fiji Womens Head Coach, Chris Cracknell paid tribute to the team, “They are a great bunch of athletes and their defence was superb. The girls have been tremendous this weekend and it’s all about them”, he said immediately after the final in Auckland.

He added, “We worked very hard on their defence in camp and it paid off here in all their games”.

Incredibly, Fiji amassed 252 points, at an average of 50 points per game, with no points scored against them in all five games they played in Auckland before the final.

Telecom Fijiana will now focus on the HSBC World Rugby Womens 7s Series starting Dubai in early December, where their improved fitness, skills and confidence will help them deliver more consistent performances across all games at all tournaments, unlike in previous years.

At the end of the day, all roads lead to Rio 2016 and if Fijiana can continue to grow as quickly as they have under Chris Cracknell, in the short time that he has been with them, they will be a team to be feared by the more established Womens rugby 7s-playing nations like New Zealand, USA, England and Australia.

More incredible when you consider how few women actually play organised rugby 7s and even less XVs rugby in Fiji. Hopefully, all that will change especially at schoolgirl level as World Rugby assist in growing the game globally and especially among females, where it is quickly gaining serious traction.

In qualifying for the 2016 Rio Olympics, Telecom Fijiana join the Vodafone Fiji Mens 7s team and the Vodafone Fiji Mens (Under-23) Football team who have both already qualified, making this the biggest ever Fiji contingent to any Olympic games in history.

The Australian Mens 7s team also qualified for Rio by winning the Oceania 7s tournament Mens section, defeating surprise package Tonga 50 – 0, who in turn had upset Samoa in their Semifinal 41 – 5.

Both Tonga and Samoa in the Mens competition and the Samoan and the Cook Islands Women’s teams, still have a chance to qualify for the last remaining places in the Rio Olympics 7s competitions, at a last chance repechage tournament to be held in Monaco in 2016, according to some reports.

The Rio Olympics Games 2016 will be staged from the 5th August 2016 with the Womens Rugby 7s competition starting the day after the Opening Ceremony and scheduled to be the first team sports to medal.

The Mens Rugby 7s competition for 12 Teams only, unlike the HSBC World Rugby 7s Series which has 16 teams, will run from August 9th – 11th 2016 with each team only playing two games per day, at allocated times scheduled to suit the massive US television viewing audience. Further, the stadium in which the rugby 7s tournament will be staged is approximately 90 minutes-drive from the Olympic Games village; odd factors which, if not prepared for and properly factored into the three game-day schedule, can trip up the best teams in this unique, one-off cauldron of global sports competition that is the Olympics.

Go Fiji Go.

– Culden Kamea

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