Fiji Men’s qualify for Paris Olympics Rugby Sevens

Fiji celebrates the qualification of the Paris 2024 Olympic Games on day three of the HSBC France Sevens at Stade Toulousain on 14 May, 2023 in Toulouse, France. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Despite not winning any pool game at the Toulouse event in the weekend, the Fijians did enough to gain automatic qualification after beating Germany and Uruguay in the quarterfinals and semifinals for a ninth-place finish.

The legendary, double Olympic gold medalist Jerry Tuwai then scored the winning try against Spain in the ninth-place final for Fiji to win 26-15.

Coach Ben Gollings, who has not won any tournament with Fiji in the 2023 HSBC Sevens Series, said after the match that winning automatic qualification was important for the defending Olympic champions.

“This is important for us and for Fiji. We did not do well in the pool matches but the players fought back and recorded wins to finish off strongly. Now we head to London and a chance to redeem ourselves.”

Samoa’s chances

Samoa, the other Pasifika team in the Series, will have to fight hard in London if they are to outplace Australia, who is in the battle to claim the fourth and final Olympic Games automatic qualifier spot.

Samoa lost 28-5 to Spain in the ninth-place semifinal.

Australia have a better chance of winning the fourth spot after they defeated Ireland in the fifth-place play-off.

They fell 7-0 and 14-7 behind in the early stages but a Nathan Lawson hat-trick either side of half-time set them on course for a 26-21 victory.

Fijiana’s fight at Oceania

Fiji, the only Pasifika team in the women’s competition, lost to Ireland in the semifinals in Toulouse and with it disappeared their hopes of automatic qualification.

The Fijiana side will now have to fight for Olympic qualification at the Oceania Sevesn Championship against other Pacific teams like Tonga, Samoa, Papua New Guinea and the Cook Islands.

Meanwhile, New Zealand wrapped up a 13th Men’s HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title in Toulouse and followed that up with a come-from-behind 24-19 extra-time win against Argentina in the Cup final.

Their women’s team had earlier won the title and automatic qualification for the Olympics with it.

Source: RNZ