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Olympics-Southern hemisphere rugby sevens powers to warmup for Tokyo in Queensland

  Kathmandu, Nepal      June 03 2021

MELBOURNE, June 3 (Reuters) - Rugby sevens powers New Zealand, Fiji and Australia will clash in an Olympic warmup tournament in Townsville, Queensland from June 25-27, Oceania Rugby said on Thursday.

Both the men’s and women’s sides from each of the southern hemisphere nations will compete in four-team tournaments along with an invitational Oceania Barbarians team.

The Australian government is supporting the travel costs for Fiji’s national teams.

“The impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt in all sports across the Oceania region and without this targeted support, we would not have been able to provide this much needed international competition,” Oceania Rugby President Richard Sapias said in a statement.

Fiji won the men’s gold as sevens made its Olympic debut at Rio five years ago. The women’s gold was won by Australia.

New Zealand were crowned World Rugby Sevens champions last year in both the men’s and women’s categories after the 2019/20 series was abandoned due to the pandemic.

New Zealand’s men whitewashed Australia 6-0 in an Olympic warmup tournament in Auckland last month. The New Zealand women also dominated their Australian opponents, winning 5-1.