Palais qualify

Sports

THE Papua New Guinea women’s sevens side qualified for two World Series tournaments next year after finishing as the highest placed non-core team at the Oceania 7s on Saturday.
The ICTSI South Pacific-sponsored PNG Palais beat main rivals Samoa 19-17 in their opening match at ANZ Stadium, Suva, Fiji, on Friday and thrashed Nauru 36-0 in their second fixture and then went down to world champions Australia 31-0.
The pool results were enough to get the Palais into the semifinals where they were beaten 31-0 by world number two side New Zealand.
The Palais then lost to hosts Fiji 33-5 but had done enough to be ranked the top non-core nation at the event ahead of Samoa, Cook Islands, New Caledonia and Nauru.
The Palais will now play in the Sydney (Feb 2-3) and Hong Kong 7s (April 5-7) next year.
The PNG men’s side unfortunately could not qualify for the World Series missing out to Tonga in the playoffs.
The Mintt-sponsored Pukpuks started their campaign well thrashing Solomon Islands 37-0 in their opening Pool A match on Friday but were hammered 35-0 by hosts Fiji in their second pool fixture.
Finishing second in the pool, PNG took on powerhouse New Zealand going down 47-0 in the qualifying finals and then lost their crucial match 17-5 against fellow non-core rival Tonga before finishing seventh overall with a 28-12 win over New Caledonia.
The result means the Pukpuks missed out on qualifying for the World Series 7s legs in Hamilton, New Zealand (Jan 26-27), Sydney, Australia (Feb 2-3) and Hong Kong (April 5-7). The PNG sides returned home yesterday while the several members of the ICTSI South Pacific-sponsored-Palais remained in Fiji to join the national 15s side who play Fiji in a regional match on Saturday (Nov 17).
The Fiji won the Oceania 7s beating New Zealand 17-12 in the men’s final and while Australia beat New Zealand 14-10 in the women’s final.

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