By Finau Fonua
Tongan Rugby Sevens has hit a new low by failing to qualify for next year’s HSBC Wellington Sevens Tournament. This is the first time Tonga has failed to qualify for the Wellington Sevens since the tournament’s inception in the year 2000.
The failure to qualify for Wellington was the result of Tonga’s unexpected loss to a determined Papua New Guinea (PNG) at the Oceania Sevens tournament last week in Noosa, Queensland. Tonga needed to beat PNG in a fifth-place playoff in order to qualify as the best non-core team for the Wellington Sevens. Instead, PNG outscored Tonga 26 – 17 to secure itself a spot at Wellington. Fiji won the 2014 Oceania Sevens tournament with a convincing 21 – 5 win over New Zealand.
Tongan Rugby Sevens is, probably, in its worst year ever as Tonga did not participate at the Commonwealth Games Sevens tournament three months ago in Glasgow, Scotland. That too, was the first time Tonga failed to qualify for the Commonwealth Games in Sevens Rugby.
However, Tonga has qualified for the Hong Kong Sevens tournament next year. The Hong Kong Sevens tournament will give Tonga’s Rugby Sevens a chance to prove itself.
Results for 2014 Oceania Sevens Tournament
Tonga 0 – 21 Australia
Tonga 7 – 29 Samoa
Tonga 24 – 12 New Caledonia
Tonga 7 – 49 Fiji
Tonga 29 – 5 Cook Islands
Tonga 17 – 26 PNG