Ballymore to host 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship

Thu, Sep 28, 2023, 6:30 AM
Reds Media Unit
by Reds Media Unit
Henry Hutchison, Frank Puletua, Hon Stirling Hinchliffe, David Hanham and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea alongside Pacifica dancers at Ballymore. Photo: QRU Media/Tom Mitchell
Henry Hutchison, Frank Puletua, Hon Stirling Hinchliffe, David Hanham and Alysia Lefau-Fakaosilea alongside Pacifica dancers at Ballymore. Photo: QRU Media/Tom Mitchell

Oceania Rugby has today confirmed the 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship will be held at Ballymore Stadium in Brisbane on 10 - 12 November.

The Queensland Government through the Department of Tourism, Innovation, and Sport are proud to host the 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship for the first time at Ballymore Stadium.

The Minister for Tourism and Sports Ministers and Minister Assisting the Premier on Olympics and Paralympics Sport and Engagement, Hon Stirling Hinchliffe said, “Queensland is Australia’s sporting events capital and hosting the Oceania Sevens Championship further enhances our global reputation on the runway to the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“The Palaszczuk Governments investment of $15 million into the redevelopment of Ballymore has contributed to increased spectator capacity, a state-of-the-art training base and other facilities, so that we can bring more world-class sporting events to Queensland.

“The Oceania Sevens, a key event on the World Rugby calendar, will bring thousands of fans to Brisbane with many staying on beyond the three-day Championships to explore the region, injecting around $3 million into the visitor economy.”

Queensland Rugby Union CEO David Hanham said, “We’re excited to host the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship at Ballymore later this year.

“It’s a proud and historic milestone for the Queensland Rugby Union as it will be the first major international event at the newly opened National Rugby Training Centre and McLean Stand as part of the redeveloped Ballymore facility.

“Ballymore is a precinct unlike any other stadium with green space, food trucks and pop-up bars creating a festival atmosphere where you will want to arrive early and stay late.

“Ballymore is also an Olympic venue for the 2032 Brisbane Games with Rugby Sevens a gold medal winning Olympic sport for Australia.

“The Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship is set to be a great tournament that will not only provide an entertaining experience for the competing teams and fans visiting Ballymore, but a golden pathway for future sevens talent ahead of the 2032 Olympics,” said Hanham.

The 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship features 25 teams - 15 men’s and 10 women’s teams from 14 countries in the region participating.

18 teams will be vying for Olympics qualification. The top placed men’s and the top placed women’s teams in the Olympic qualification sections of the 2023 Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship will qualify to the 2024 Paris Olympics.

Oceania Rugby General Manager, Frank Puletua highlighted the significance of these events said, "This championship is not just a sporting event; it's a celebration of cultures, traditions, and the enduring spirit and skill of rugby players across Oceania. It's a chance for emerging and established talents to shine on a global stage and take a significant step towards achieving their Olympic dream.”

The tournament draws will comprise both an International (pre-qualified Paris 2024 and non – IOC teams) and Olympic section (teams vying for Paris 2024 qualification) and will be played concurrently over three days.

The initial stages of the draw in the Olympic section are designed to satisfy Olympic Qualification criteria before the draws are merge into the overall Oceania Rugby Sevens crown deciders.

The women’s Olympic section of the tournament will feature American Samoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu all vying for the sole qualification spot to Paris 2024.

The Men’s Olympic section will see these national teams and others battle it out for a final spot joining Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand in Paris.

The Men’s International section will feature arguably the world’s premier sevens teams with Australia, Fiji, and New Zealand pooled together with Niue and the Oceania invitational team.

The Australian 7s Men’s Coach John Manenti said, “After our first real break in over two years, it’s great to be back playing a few of the best teams in the world.

"Current World Series Champions New Zealand & current Olympic champions Fiji will be great preparation for our season ahead and a chance to claim the early bragging rights as the champions of Oceania.

"As always, the opportunity to play at home is great motivation & we hope the locals come out to support us”.

This year’s edition of the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship will see the American Samoa women’s team make their International Sevens debut.

The American Samoa President said, “After 12 years of becoming a full member of World Rugby, the struggles of putting together a women's team to represent American Samoa in the world stage of rugby was surreal.

"It was very difficult. Not only is rugby not an American sport, but the mentality of our local people, that rugby is a sport only for men.

"Nevertheless, we did not give up. Although very few in numbers we explored every avenue to ensure there will be women teams in all of our competitions.

"The people of American Samoa are very proud in supporting for the first time American Samoa's women's team’s participation in this year's Oceania Olympic Qualifier Tournament.

The American Samoa Women’s team, Segaula look forward to bringing their excitement to Brisbane!”

A total of 66 matches (35 men’s and 31 women’s matches) will be played across three days of competition.

The tournament draw will be released on October 18 2023.

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