Fijiana Sevens skipper Rusila Nagasau said she was delighted her side avoided relegation from the HSBC Women’s World Series, saying retaining core status was crucial to ensuring the development of women’s rugby in her country.
Fiji avoided last place by the skin of their teeth, finishing the six-tournament campaign on 21 points, the same as China – who reached the quarter-finals in Biarritz. The Fijians survived because they had a superior overall points difference.
Nagasau said it was important that the team continued playing at the highest level because it would create more opportunities for young and upcoming players.
“We are proud of ourselves as our aim when we left Fiji was to come here at secure a place in the series for next season. It is very important for us to stay in the top tier as we are also creating pathway for our young and upcoming players,” Ragasau was quoted as saying by Fiji Rugby.
The captain said most of the players in the squad came in halfway through the season – during the Sydney Sevens – and was a factor in the team’s underwhelming performance.
“Most of us came in the middle of the season,’ she said. “It was a big task for us as we only started playing from Sydney 7s. Coming from the 11th position it was really hard for us to win every game.”
With world series core status maintained, the team will now focus on the 2020 Olympic qualifiers which will be held in Fiji in November.
If Fiji fail to secure Olympic qualification by winning the qualifiers, they will have one final shot to book a ticket to Japan during the Olympic qualification at the World Rugby Olympic Repechage tournament in the first half of 2020, which will feature 12 women’s and men’s teams, with the second and third team in each regional competition invited to participate.
Main photo: World Rugby