Women playing rugby 7s

Fiji retain rugby 7s golds, Wallis and Futuna win surprise women’s bronze

cropped 005A8865 | June 23, 2024
Fiji claimed gold in both men’s and women’s rugby 7s. Photos: Micah Alvince, Pacific Games News Service

Fiji successfully defended their gold medal titles in both the men’s and women’s rugby 7s competitions on Saturday night, securing two gold medals for their nation at the Sol2023 Pacific Games.

The Fiji men’s team put on a spectacular show at Honiara’s National Stadium in their 19-5 win over Samoa in the gold medal match, while Tonga bagged the bronze after convincingly beating Papua New Guinea 19-7.

Fijian Captain Suliano Volivolituevei, who led by example in scoring the first try of the match, said: “Firstly, I want to say thank you to the Lord. I was part of the team in 2019 where we won gold, so I was urging the boys that we had to defend our title.”

“In 2019 the score was 7-5, and tonight, with the support of our families back at home and here in the stadium, we were able to come away with a bigger win.”

In the women’s division, Fiji battled Papua New Guinea to a 17-7 victory. Following the match, Fijian veteran player Lavenia Tinai said: “Massive shoutout to our young players in the team; I am very proud of them.

“This is my third Pacific Games, and seeing how far our team has come in this tournament, especially since we consist of mostly new players, is very fulfilling for me,” she told the Pacific Games News Service.

Despite their loss, Papua New Guinea captain Marie Biyama said: “That was a tough comeback, and we fell short with some mistakes in the game. We will learn from this and work very hard to build the girls for future competitions.”

The treat of the night came from Wallis and Futuna, first-time rugby 7s entries into the Pacific Games, who surprisingly defeated Tonga 17-7 to take home the bronze.

Wallis and Futuna head coach and former Fiji national 7s player, Sailosi Nawavu, told the Pacific Games News Service: “This is the first time for our men’s and women’s rugby teams to participate in the Pacific Games, and to come away with a medal is just amazing.

“Rugby only just started a decade ago in Wallis and Futuna, and we are still developing; however, today’s win will certainly boost the sport back at home and inspire the next generation of players.”

Saturday night marked the end of an intense three-day rugby 7s event at Sol2023.

By Aaron Ballekom, Donaldson Saepioh and Frank Teho, Pacific Games News Service

Similar Posts