2011 Pacific Games: Rugby 7s Leading the Way
Rugby 7s delivered a number of important 'firsts' at the 2011 Pacific Games, including qualification for the IRB Sevens World Series as well as the inaugural Women's event.
In the Men's event, Samoa avenged their defeat to Fiji in the 2007 South Pacific Games, with a thrilling 21-19 victory to claim the gold medal.
However, the losing semi-finalists - Papua New Guinea and Niue - also had cause to celebrate as their good results at this tournment enabled them to qualify for the first leg of the prestigious IRB Sevens World Series, to be held on the Gold Coast in November.
The qualification pathway to the IRB Sevens World Series was an important initiative of the Pacific Games Council and the International Rugby Board as both parties seek to ensure that the very best teams attend the Pacific Games and that Pacific Games Rugby 7s sits in a strong position on the IRB calendar of events.
For the first time at the Pacific Games, Women's Rugby was on the sport program. Fiji were too strong for Samoa and claimed the inaugural gold medal. With seven participating nations, Women's Rugby looks set to become an integral part of future editions of the Pacific Games.
Congratulations also to the New Caledonian hosts and the appreciative and good crowds who attended the three-day event at the Numa Daly Stadium in Noumea.