Australian Men’s Sevens team seal Rio 2016 berth
The Australian Men’s Sevens team has become the tenth team to qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics.
The Australians defeated Tonga 50-0 in a one-sided Cup Final at the Oceania Rugby Olympic Qualification tournament at The Trusts Arena in Auckland this afternoon.
The green and gold stunned Tonga – who earlier had shocked a much-fancied Samoan side in the Semi-Finals – as they dominated the decider from start to finish.
Pama Fou was in a fearsome mood as he registered the opening two scores of the game to ease any nerves in the Australian camp, before Jesse Parahi added a third after eight minutes.
Skipper Ed Jenkins then gave Australia a virtually unassailable 31-point lead at the break as he crossed over twice in a minute on the left hand wing.
Cameron Clark and Henry Hutchison added further tries after the interval before birthday-boy Allan Fa’alava’au fittingly put the icing on the cake to complete a convincing win.
Australian Men’s Sevens interim Head Coach Tim Walsh said: “We’re very pleased. The boys put in a ruthless performance in that last game and it was just desserts for the effort they have put in – not only in the last three months with me, but for the last three of four years too.
“This is a great way to start a new chapter, a new stage in what will be a massive year with the Olympics at the end of it. It’s a weight off everyone’s shoulders [qualifying for Rio] – if you look at it in a positive way, then these players will be battle-hardened and more able to handle those pressure situations.”
Australian captain Ed Jenkins said: “We’re all delighted that we’ve qualified Australia for the Olympics. It’s a testament to the boys character that we performed as well as we did this weekend. We delivered when it mattered most and I’m very proud.
“Full credit goes to Tim [Walsh] who agreed to coach us in the wake of Geraint John’s departure. We’re all proud of what we’ve done in what was a tough qualifier.”
Earlier in the day, Australia defeated American Samoa (52-0) in the Quarter-Finals and Papua New Guinea in the Semi-Finals (36-0).
Australia will now have two teams at Rugby Sevens’ debut at the Olympics, the Men joining the national Women’s side in Rio who themselves secured qualification in May.
Runners-up Tonga and third-placed Samoa will now proceed to a final qualifying repecharge in the middle of next year for the 12th and final spot at Rio 2016.
Australian Men’s Sevens results in Auckland, New Zealand, 14-15 November:
Australia 62-0 Nauru, Pool A
Australia 48-7 Cook Islands, Pool A
Australia 49-0 Tonga, Pool A
Australia 52-0 American Samoa, Cup Quarter-Final
Australia 36-0 Papua New Guinea, Cup Semi-Final
Australia 50-0 Tonga, Cup Final*
*Australia qualify for the Rio 2016 Olympics
News Source: ARU Media