Final friendly match between Vanuatu women’s team and Police at Independence Park. Photo – Anasilini Natoga

The Vanuatu women’s and men’s 7s team will depart for the Oceania Rugby 7s Challenge in Brisbane, Australia next Monday.

Oceania Rugby confirmed yesterday the 2022 Oceania Rugby Sevens Challenge will be held at the Hugh Courtney Oval, home to the North Brisbane Rugby Union Club Eagles on November 19-20.

The 2022 Oceania Rugby Sevens Challenge is a truncated version of the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship which features 14 teams vying for a place in the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series. The 2022 event will see eight men’s and six women’s teams from across the Oceania Region participating.

The top two men’s and the top placed women’s teams at the 2022 Oceania Rugby Sevens Challenge will qualify to the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series. The winner of the 2023 World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series will achieve core status on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2024.

Oceania Rugby Interim, General Manager, Lemalu Wayne Schuster highlighted the importance of these events saying:

“Providing an opportunity for all our member unions to finally participate and experience International Sevens rugby once again is critical in recharging their sevens programs after a two-year absence from international competition.

“Given the success of Oceania teams at recent HSBC Sevens Series events, we want to replicate these successes across all our other member unions, especially those vying for spots in the World Rugby Sevens Challenger series.

To accomplish this, they need to be exposed to more high-level competitions in the region” Schuster added.

The women’s side of the tournament will see the Cook Islands, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu all trying to prevent Papua New Guinea returning to the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series for a second year. The event is the first outing for all teams beside Papua New Guinea since the 2019 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship.

The men’s event will feature Cook Islands, Kiribati, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Australia A. Tonga and Papua New Guinea will be hoping to return to the World Rugby Sevens Challenger Series after both participated this year. Kiribati will be the unknown factor in their maiden outing at an international event.

A total of 42 matches (24 Men’s and 18 women’s matches) will be played across two days of competition.

Meanwhile, the Vanuatu women 7s rugby team had a good finish in their friendly match against Police at Independence Park yesterday.

In the first match the national women’s team managed to score three tries against Police.

Police provided a ruthless defence game and proved themselves too strong in the ruck area which the national side continuously failed to execute causing them to give away a lot of possessions.

In the second round of match the national team lifted intensity and managed to secure possession in break down areas as they ran through five tries and Police managed one.