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Samoa men, Fiji women qualify for Paris Olympics at Oceania Sevens

BRISBANE, Australia — Samoa will play in the men’s sevens rugby tournament at next year’s Paris Olympics after beating Papua New Guinea 24-0 in a qualifying final at the Oceania Sevens tournament on Sunday.

“I think the hard work just began,” Samoa veteran B.J. Lima said after Samoa qualified for the Olympic tournament for the first time in its history.

Double Olympic champion Fiji, New Zealand and Australia already had qualified for the Olympics after securing top placings along with host France and Argentina during the last Sevens World Series.

New Zealand beat Fiji for a place opposite Samoa in Sunday’s Oceania Sevens final, though Samoa’s win over PNG sealed its Olympic place.

Papua New Guinea and fifth-place Tonga still have a chance of reaching the Olympics through the final qualifying tournament next year.

The Fiji women’s team also confirmed its place at the Paris Olympics with a 54-0 win over Papua New Guinea in the final qualifying match. Fijiana were bronze medalists at the Tokyo Olympics four years ago.

They dominated the Olympic tournament in Brisbane, scoring 254 points and conceding only five. They added eight tries in the final, roared on by a large group of Fiji supporters.

“Everywhere we go we have Fiji supporters and there were a lot in Brisbane today,” Fiji star Ana Maria Naimasi said.

AP rugby: https://apnews.com/hub/rugby

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