14 Nov 2016

Sport: Fiji 7s pick up where they left off

12:55 pm on 14 November 2016

Fiji's Olympic champion sevens team picked up where they left off in Rio, staying unbeaten on their way to the Oceania Championship title in Suva.

A new-look team featuring four Olympic gold medallists, five debutantes and three recalled former internationals defeated Samoa 28-19 in the men's final, having dispatched American Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Nauru and Tonga in pool play and Australia in the semi finals.

Fiji celebrate winning the 2016 Oceania 7's title.

Fiji celebrate winning the 2016 Oceania 7's title. Photo: Oceania Rugby

Interim coach Naca Cawunibuca said the team was on an extended honeymoon for a long time following their success in Rio.

But after spending only a fortnight together in camp, he said their performances at the weekend were encouraging.

"Expectations are pretty high on the sevens team at the moment in Fiji and obviously there was a bit of pressure on them going out to perform this last weekend and we were quite pleased with coming out with a win," he said.

"In terms of the general performance there's still a lot of work-ons to improve on but it's good to get the first tournament of the new season on the run."

"It's a bit of a transition phase really now. We're rebuilding: we've lost a few of our players and obviously Ben (Ryan) has left but we're still keeping in contact, which is good, and really the legacy that's been built over the last three years is a platform that we really have continued on," Cawunibuca said.

"It was really good to have the senior boys who were there as well to help with the program and still keep the fluency in the team going forward."

Naca Cawunibuca said five first-team regulars, who were unavailable for the Oceania tournament, will start training with the squad today as they begin preparations for the World Series opener in Dubai next month.

Australia took out the 2016 Oceania 7's title.

Australia took out the 2016 Oceania 7's title. Photo: Oceania Rugby

Meanwhile Olympic women's sevens champions Australia also went unbeaten through two days of competition, thrashing the Fijiana 31-0 in their final match to seal the title.

There was also double delight for Papua New Guinea: the men's side reached the semi finals to qualify for the Wellington and Sydney legs of the World Series and the Hong Kong qualifier.

Tonga beat the Cook Islands 19-0 in the playoff for fifth-place to earn a spot in the Hong Kong World Series qualifier.

The PNG women will feature in the Sydney leg of the Women's World Series and the Hong Kong World Series qualifier, after finishing as the top placed non-core team in Suva.