SOL23: Fiji, Samoa, Tonga, PNG through to men’s rugby 7s semifinals

Friday saw the quarter-finals of the men’s rugby 7s. Photos: Charlie Ando Bitikolo, Pacific Games News Service

Fiji showcased why they’re regarded as one of the best rugby 7s nations in the world at the Sol2023 Pacific Games on Friday, defeating an up-and-coming Solomon Islands team 74-0 in the last men’s quarter-final match of the day at Honiara’s National Stadium. The Fijian side showed no mercy as they aim to defend their Samoa 2019 gold medal status.

Following the win, Fiji rugby 7s team manager Rokolua Lala said: “We are a young developing side and have prepared really well, we certainly do not underestimate any team in this competition and that’s why we are so hungry and the results reflected that.

“We have a lot of respect for Solomon Islands and playing against them was just like playing back at home with our own brothers,” he added.

Joining Fiji in the semi-finals are: Samoa, the 2019 silver medalists, who secured their spot after a 36-0 victory over Cook Islands; Tonga, who earned their place with a dominant 43-5 win against Vanuatu; and Papua New Guinea, who convincingly defeated American Samoa 39-5.

Hoping to make it all the way to the gold showdown, Samoa captain Fuli Faafouina said: “It feels good to get that win today. This is my first Pacific Games and I’m very excited to represent my country. We are taking each match as it comes and hopefully will make our country proud in the finals.”

The women’s competition is still in the pool stages and saw some notable action on Friday including Fiji defeating Solomon Islands 47-0, an impressive Wallis and Futuna beating Cook Islands 22-12, Papua New Guinea winning 31-0 against Nauru, and Tonga securing a 36-0 win over American Samoa.

More hard-hitting rugby 7s will take place on Saturday from 11am, kicking off with the women’s quarter-final matches. The gold medal matches for the both men’s and women’s divisions will take place shortly before 7:30pm.

By Aaron Ballekom and Frank Teho, Pacific Games News Service