Tonga to select European based Players for Tokyo Olympic Qualifier

· Oceania Mens Sevens Championship
by Oceania Rugby

To protect communities Tonga Sevens Team will be selected from European based players.

It is with great regret that the Tonga Rugby Union has taken the decision to not select a squad for the Olympic Qualification in Monaco on the 19th and 20th of June from the Official Tonga Rugby Union Sevens programme based in New Zealand.

The Sevens team to pursue qualification will be selected from the many Tongan professional players based in Europe.

CEO Peter Harding stated today that this decision has been take n for both public health and public responsibility reasons: "The Sevens team has been based in New Zealand for the past 3 years under Tevita Tui'fua and Richard Weightman who have kept Men's Sevens alive for Tonga. Sending a team from New Zealand would require the players having 16 2 week MIQ spaces available on their return from Monaco after the competition. These spaces are scarce and extremely hard to acquire and taking 16 places at this particular time is not the right path to take. A team from Tonga was considered. However, France is a country that currently has a 4th wave and in consultation with our board and our Chief Medical Officer, we have decided we will not risk bringing the virus back from France into our communities."

The team from Europe will consist of many I'kale Tahi players and will be very strong.

The announcement of the team and management will be made as soon as final arrangements are completed.

Coach Tevita Tui'fua who is managing the process of choosing the European based squad said today "This is the right course for our communities and our health. The players who have formed the core of our group will re-focus their efforts on the Challenger Series and the Oceania Championship at the end of the year. The Oceania Sevens Championship is a qualification for the Commonwealth Games and the Sevens RWC, so there is everything to look forward to for 2022."