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New Zealand the form team as new SVNS season looms

WRAP: Olympic qualifying was in the headlines, but it was New Zealand who sounded a warning to other teams ahead of the start of the 2023-24 HSBC SVNS season.

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Samoa’s men and Fiji’s women have secured their tickets to the Olympic Games Paris 2024 at the Oceania Sevens Championship 2023 in Brisbane.

They join host France, New Zealand, Argentina, Fiji, Australia, Uruguay, Ireland, United States and Kenya in the Paris line-up.

The final two places will be decided via the Asia qualification tournaments and the Olympic repechage tournament.

South Africa, hosts of Round Two of the new season, and Uganda will compete in the Olympic repechage tournament for one of the two final spots.

* Meanwhile, Brian Lima’s Samoa will make their Olympic debut in France next year after they capped a supremely impressive weekend with a 24-0 defeat of Papua New Guinea in the men’s Olympic Final on Sunday.

Earlier at Ballymore Stadium, Fijiana sevens made sure of their place in Paris with a 54-0 win in the women’s Olympic final, also against Papua New Guinea.

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Neither Samoa nor Fijiana could turn their qualification success into a title triumph, however, as the All Blacks Sevens and Australia won the respective overall Championship finals.

The Olympic dream continues for Papua New Guinea’s men and women, as well as Tonga men and Samoa women, who will compete in the Final Olympic Qualification Tournament in 2024 having finished the Oceania Rugby Sevens Championship as the second and third highest-ranked non-qualified nations in each tournament.

Tickets for HSBC SVNS CPT are now on sale at SVNS.com or Ticketmaster. Unreserved seats start at R350, with Reserved seats from R500 and exclusive Next Level Experiences available from R1500.

Samoa missed out on automatic Olympic qualification via the World Rugby Sevens Series 2023 by a solitary point and was in no mood to let another opportunity pass them by in Brisbane.

Having opened their Men’s Pool B campaign with a 36-0 defeat of Tuvalu on Friday, Samoa surged into the men’s Olympic final with a perfect four wins from four and without conceding a single point.

Solomon Islands were beaten 50-0 before they ran in 52 points against American Samoa and emerged 46-0 victors against Cook Islands.

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Those results set up a men’s Olympic final against Papua New Guinea, whose standout result on their way to the showpiece match was a hard-fought 24-21 defeat of Tonga on day one.

Samoa ensured the final was a much more routine affair, however, as they ran out 24-0 winners at Ballymore Stadium to end their wait for Olympic qualification.

Lima’s side went on to contest the overall Championship final against New Zealand, but it proved just a step too far as the All Blacks Sevens claimed the title with a nail-biting 24-19 win after extra-time.

Tokyo bronze medallists Fijiana, meanwhile, had been pipped to automatic qualification by Ireland during the 2023 Series but did not let that disappoint affect them in Brisbane.

Fiji conceded only five points in their three pool matches, beating Cook Islands 50-0, Tonga 38-5 and debutants American Samoa 68-0 en route to the women’s Olympic semi-finals.

Samoa were then beaten 42-0 in the semi-finals to set up a qualification decider with Papua New Guinea at Ballymore Stadium.

And Fijiana made sure of their return to the Games in Paris next year with an impressive 54-0 win in the showpiece match.

Victory also secured Fijiana’s passage to the overall Championship final against Australia, but they were beaten 26-0 by the 2016 Olympic champions.

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