Both teams remained unbeaten over the weekend and were clearly the best teams in their respective events as the scores in the finals suggest. Australia beat Tonga 50-0 in its final whilst Fijiana beat Samoa 55-0.
Under interim coach Tim Walsh Australia were superb over the two-day tournament. Aggressive at the breakdown and clinical at the restarts and with ball in open play they scored 138 points in their three matches on finals day and conceded no tries or points.
Standout players were skipper Ed Jenkins, Greg Jeloudev and Tom Cusack along with Jesse Parahi who was playing his last sevens event before taking up a Super Rugby contract. Attracting much attention also was 18-year-old newcomer Henry Hutchison whose pace and footwork marks him as a star of the future.
Australian captain Ed Jenkins declared after the victory, “After the disappointment of not qualifying through the World Series in London we have put in five months of preparation. We knew we had the chance to qualify but we lost our coach recently and credit to Tim Walsh the women’s coach who stepped in and has got us to this point and winning the event.”
“Now that we have qualified we can start to think properly about Rio. We can now plan the coming season that starts in Dubai soon but it is exciting times for sevens in Australia. One thing for sure the Rio tournament is going to be very tough but to be a part of it is tremendous for the team.”
The surprise of the day was Tonga men who easily beat Samoa in the semi-finals 41-5. It was an impressive performance from Tonga and just reward for a team whose form continued to build and improve as the tournament went on. Its second place in the tournament means it qualifies for the final World Rugby Olympic qualifying tournament in 2016.
For Samoa, who had looked like a real threat to Australia after Day 1, it was its worst performance of the weekend. Some consolation is the fact that by beating Papua New Guinea in the 3rd-4th play-off it will join Tonga in the 2016 qualifier. Either Tonga or Samoa could easily still end up in Rio de Janeiro.
Day 2 Men’s Results
QF1: Tonga 47 Solomon Islands 0
QF2: Samoa 59 Nauru 0
QF3: Papua New Guinea 19 Cook Islands 7
QF4: Australia 52 American Samoa 0
5th-8th ranking semi-final: Solomon Islands 31 Nauru 5
5th-8th ranking semi-final: Cook Islands 24 American Samoa 19
SF1: Tonga 41 Samoa 5
SF2: Australia 36 Papua New Guinea 0
7th-8th play-off: American Samoa 33 Nauru 12
5th-6th play-off: Solomon Islands 14 Cook Islands 17
3rd-4th play-off: Samoa 54 Papua New Guinea 0
Final: Australia Tonga