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Rugby World Cup spot up for grabs at VAN2017

Rugby Sevens kicked off on Friday at the Van2017 Pacific Mini Games and put the new Korman Stadium to the test with ten teams contesting in two pools.

The stand was packed and the crowd was loud as is the tradition in Sevens and the action on the field did not disappoint.

The rain came and went in light showers but did not dampen the spirit of the fans nor the players.

As expected the biggest roar – aside from the home crowd support for the Vanuatu team – was for the mighty Fijians.

Fiji placed its usual stamp of authority and dominance on each of its four games of the first day with wins over Tuvalu, Niue, Solomon Islands and New Caledonia. Despite this team not being the number one national team, the natural skillset of the players which dominated each game was obvious for all to see.

While Fiji has topped Pool A finishing the day undefeated with one round to go before finals, Solomon Islands has secured second place in that pool.

In Pool B, Samoa – like Fiji – has sent its second team due to World Series commitments, but at no time looked threatened by opponents Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru or Wallis and Futuna.

With both these nations having already qualified for the 2018 Rugby Sevens World Cup, the big prize for the rest of the field is the chance to secure the second Oceania spot in the draw.

For Vanuatu, the steep learning curve continues and while a day of wins in front of the home fans would have been preferable it is the long and realistic road of development which is being played by Vanuatu Rugby.

With a win and two losses, Saturday’s match against Nauru will be crucial if the home team hopes to finish well.

By Jill Scanlon /news and photo:  VAN2017.com
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