8 Dec 2017

Sport: Sevens minnow sets sights on World Cup

12:45 pm on 8 December 2017

Tuvalu believe they can defy recent form and qualify for the Rugby Sevens World Cup in San Francisco.

Tuvalu sevens team

Tuvalu sevens team Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie

One berth is on offer to the best placed sevens team at the Mini Games in Port Vila, outside of Fiji and Samoa, who are already qualified.

Tuvalu were beaten by Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Vanuatu at last month's Oceania Championships.

Tuvalu's Howard Elisaia, who has played age-grade rugby for the Melbourne Rebels, said they've put a lot of work in since then.

"It wasn't the result that we were expecting, we came last throughout the table.

"It was a bad loss but something to learn from and now we're ready to come back hard and strong and better than before."

The competition kicks off this afternoon at Korman Stadium, with Tuvalu facing a daunting first up challenge against sevens kings, Fiji.

"All the boys are looking forward to the game against Fiji because that will be a test towards the boys, in order to encourage them for the next ones," Elisaia said.

"If we do better against Fiji we will probably take it out, that's the goal, anything is possible.

"It's all in the heart and the mind and we are positive that we can make a change throughout this history."

Tuvalu will also face New Caledonia, Niue and Solomon Islands in pool play, with the top two advancing to the semi-finals.

Samoa, Tonga, Nauru, Vanuatu and Wallis and Futuna make up the other pool.