The Oceania 7s are in full swing at Brisbane’s Ballymore Stadium with Australia drawing first blood against their Trans-Tasman rivals on Day 1.
The Aussie women won their first match of a five-game series against a New Zealand Development at 3:40pm (all times local/AEST) and will back up for another hit-out at 7:20pm this evening.
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Sister act Teagan and Maddi Levi were at the heart of a 21-19 win with Tegan kicking all three conversions and laying on two try assists for Maddi.
But the star-studded Aussies rarely looked comfortable against NZ, who scored first through Jorja Miller and pressured their hosts through impressive rush defense before Maddi Levi’s first long-range effort.
Tyesha Ikenasio then made the most of a Bienne Terita yellow card to score NZ’s second midway through the first half, opening up a 12-7 lead at oranges.
It took a tackle-shedding run from Teagan Levi deep in her own 22 to get the Aussies out of trouble early in the second term, her offload freeing up Maddi for another long-range try before Charlotte Caslick put the margin beyond two scores with a typical scything run.
Black Ferns star Shiray Kaka scored for NZ after full-time to bring the margin back to two.
Meanwhile the Aussie men are scheduled for a 6:58pm clash with the Oceania Barbarians, a side who were soundly beaten 56-0 by New Zealand earlier in the day.
Reigning Olympic men’s champions Fiji also flexed their muscles with a 47-5 win over Niue while Paris 2024 hopefuls Samoa, Papua New Guinea and Tonga also posted early victories in both the men’s and women’s qualifiers.
Oceania 7s – Rolling Day 1 Results
Samoa Women 50 def Nauru Women 0
Papua New Guinea Women 45 def Solomon Islands Women 0
Tonga Women 32 final American Samoa Women 0
Fiji Women 50 def Cook Islands Women 0
Papua New Guinea Men 46 def Kiribati Men 0
Tonga Men 59 def Nauru Men 7
Solomon Islands Men 50 def American Samoa 5
Samoa Men 36 final Tuvalu Men 0
Fiji Men 47 def Niue Men 5
New Zealand Men 56 final Oceania Barbarians Men 0
Australian Women 21 def NZ Development Women 19
Solomon Islands Women 41 def Nauru Women 0
Papua New Guinea Women 36 def Samoa Women 7
EARLIER: Veteran Nick Malouf headlines an experienced men’s squad and the Aussie women aren’t pulling punches either, naming 11 players who won a World Cup and Commonwealth Games double in 2022.
“The Oceania region is always a strong rugby region and it’s going to be a great weekend of rugby; we are lucky to play some of the best teams of the Pacific,” Malouf said.
“With the HSBC SVNS Series starting in a couple of weeks and this will be a final head out for us, we are looking forward to finding out the final side of the draw as well.”
While Australia are playing outside Olympic qualification, Malouf has tipped a thrilling men’s battle for tickets to Paris 2024.
“Samoa would have to be the favorites because they narrowly miss the qualification, we went down to the wire with them, Tonga and PNG are dangerous as well,” he said.
Meanwhile Fijiana remain hot favorites to take out the women’s Olympic qualifiers but face stiff opposition from Samoa, Tonga, Papua New Guinea and others.
View Full Tournament Fixture here.
Australian Men’s Squad & Fixtures – Oceania 7s
Nick Malouf, Dally Bird, Aden Ekanayake, Ben Dalton, Tim Clements, James McGregor, Hayden Sargeant, Ben Dowling, Dietrich Roache, James Turner, Henry Palmer, Nathan Lawson
Day 1 (Friday 10 November) – Australia Men v Oceania Barbarians (06:58pm AEST)
Day 2 (Saturday 11 November) – Australia Men v Niue (01:34pm AEST), Australia Men v Fiji (04:52pm AEST), Australia Men v New Zealand (7:26pm AEST)
Day 3 (Sunday November 12) – TBC
Australian Women’s Squad – Oceania 7s
Sariah Paki, Bella Nasser, Kaitlin Shave, Madison Ashby, Maddison Levi, Teagan Levi, Faith Nathan, Demi Hayes, Bienne Terita, Sharni Smale, Charlotte Caslick, Dominique Du Toit, Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea
Day 1 (Friday 10 November) – Australia Women v NZ Development (03:40pm & 07:20pm)
Day 2 (Saturday 11 November) – Australia Women v NZ Development (04:08pm & 07:04pm)
Day 3 (Sunday 12 November) – Australia Women v NZ Development (04:02pm)