Seems like everybody wants to catch some ‘Noosa Time’ lately. Especially those with a passion for Rugby, as evidenced by Noosa being selected to host this year’s prestigious Oceania Sevens rugby tournament.Some 12 nations will be sending the best teams to compete, including Pacific powerhouses New Zealand, Fiji Samoa and including our very own Australian team. Scheduled for October 3rd to 5th, the best of the best will be hitting a week or so on the Sunshine Coast for the event, which by all accounts will be the centerpiece of this year’s annual Noosa International Sevens festival.
According to the Federation of Oceania Rugby Unions (FORU), the regional arm of the International Rugby Board, they are over the moon that New Zealand’s world champion All Blacks Sevens squad will be competing in the tournament for the very first time.
“FORU is delighted to be a part of this wonderful sevens carnival and this year we are delivering the strongest ever Oceania Sevens,” said Will Glenwright, IRB General Manager, Oceania. Oceania is home to some of the world’s best sevens teams including New Zealand, Fiji, Australia and Samoa.”
According to the Noosa International Sevens web site, these four teams ranked as the core teams of the IRB Sevens World Series, will be joined in Noosa by teams from American Samoa, Cook Islands, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tahiti and Tonga.
It’s not just the boys heading in for some fun on the field. FORU will also be running a seven-team women’s tournament alongside the men’s event in Noosa, with the national squads from Australia, Cook Islands, Fiji, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Samoa and Tonga all confirmed.
Apparently, the excitement for this year’s tournament event in Noosa is reflective of sevens rugby growing following right around the world. With seven players instead of the traditional 15 aside, the game’s intensity reaches new levels. It’s faster and a lot more furious, making it a great spectacle sport, which is probably part of its acceptance as an official Olympic sport at the Rio games in 2016.
There’s also an additional incentive for the ‘non-core’ men’s teams taking part at Noosa, as the event has become a qualifying tournament for the HSBC Sevens World Series. The top performing non-core men’s team in Noosa will win a place at next year’s IRB World Series events in Hong Kong and Wellington. The second best placed team will secure a place in Hong Kong.
It’s amazing to think that the Noosa Dolphins Rugby Club has been the driving force behind Noosa being selected to host this FORU tournament is another feather in the cap for the local club, which last year managed to attract the British and Irish Lions to the Sunshine Coast in the final week of their Australian tour. Go the Dolphins!
“The club, its members and the people of Noosa proved they can meet the needs and expectations of world-class sporting organisations and we’ll do it again in 2014,” said Event Director Dene Brooks. “I can guarantee a warm welcome and a great weekend of action for all the teams and their fans coming to the tournament.
The Noosa International 7’s Festival was first established in 2010 and its success since has seen it become Australia’s premier rugby sevens event outside of the IRB International World Series. It captures the rugby world’s attention with the festival hailed by the teams and coaches, including the Australian coach, Michael O’Connor, as the “best 7’s festival in Australia outside of the IRB Sevens”.
The 2013 event generated massive interest which saw high quality International, National and regional teams looking to secure a place within the tournament. 2013 also saw the introduction of the inaugural Open School Boy’s & School Girl’s tournament, which event organisers saw as a very exciting development for the growth of their beloved festival.
The core tournament consists of 16 Men’s and 8 Women’s Teams competing in pool categories to make it through to the finals.
Ticket pricing is very reasonable for such a world-class event, with single day passes starting at $20. Tickets are available via the Noosa International Sevens Festival website along with all the information you could ever need to ensure that you don’t miss any of the action pack play come game time.