31 Jul 2012

Sport: Tough beginning for Tongan sevens team

10:36 am on 31 July 2012

There will be no easing into things for the Tongan sevens team at the Oceania Women's Championship in Lautoka this week.

They play New Zealand first up on Friday before rounding out pool play against Fiji and Cook Islands.

Tongan coach Eva Mafi says, while it's a tough way to begin, it will leave them in no doubt where they stand.

"That's what we are planning - target the first game first and to the second and the third game for the next day. Because this tournament is a qualifier for the World Cup and that's what we are targeting for Tonga, for our team to be qualified and for the rest of the tournament is eligible for Tonga to join. But firstly we are looking forward for the qualifying and we are going to make it and this is our mission for this tournament."

Meanwhile the Papua New Guinea team will play a practice match in Brisbane on Tuesday before flying out to Lautoka.

Coach John Larry says it will be a good opportunity to give the players a run.

Just to see how our defence is. The girls are looking fit at the moment right now.When we get there to Fiji we've got a tough game against Samoa, and we will see how the first game goes and then we will know where we stand.

PNG is in the same pool as Australia, Samoa and Solomon Islands.

New Zealand and Australia are guaranteed berths at next year's World Cup and, provided they finish in the top two spots, the third place getter will also qualify.

There will one further chance to progress from the Asia Pacific tournament in September.