Captains ready to chase WXV qualifications as Gold Coast, Australia welcomes the 2023 Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship for the first time.

Wed, May 24, 2023, 9:03 PM
by Oceania Rugby
PC: Samuel Caslick for Oceania Rugby
PC: Samuel Caslick for Oceania Rugby
  • The Gold Coast City Council and Bond University, with support from PacificAus Sports, are proud to host for the first time at Bond University, Gold Coast.
  • The Australian government, through PacificAus Sports supports the Oceania Rugby Women’s Championships for the first time.
  • The 2023 competition is even more significant than previous years, as teams compete for a spot in the inaugural World Rugby WXV competition that commences later this year.
  • The competition provides the platform for Pacific players to be selected for the 2023 Oceania Women’s Combine later in August this year, where players aspire to earn a selection and a PacificAus Sports scholarship to play in Australia’s Super W.
  • Ella Goldsmith (AUS) and Lavenia Racaca (FIJ) appointed as Match Official.

The stage is set for the 2023 Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship, with captains of the participating teams spending the morning enjoying the sunshine along the Gold Coast spit for the traditional captain’s photo ahead of the tournament this weekend.  The four Captains gathered ahead of the super charged regional Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship on 26 May - 4 June, which will see the  teams return to the field for the first time on the City of Gold Coast.

Present for the photo this morning were captains from the Women’s participating teams included Sereima Leweniqila (Fiji), Sui Pauaraisa (Samoa), Asipau Mafi (Tonga), Joan Lagona (Papua New Guina) and Oceania Rugby General Manager, Frank Puletua. The 2023 Oceania Rugby Women’s Championship will be held at the home to the Bond Univeristy Rugby. The top two teams from the competition between the Fijiana XV (Fiji), Cassowaries (Papua New Guinea), Manusina XV (Samoa) and Tonga Women’s XV will qualify in the inaugural WXV. The first-place team will qualify in WXV-Tier 2 and the second placed team for WXV-Tier 3. The event will also serve as a platform for Pacific players to be selected for the Oceania Women’s Combine in August this year, in which the selectors will identify potential players to join Australia’s Super W teams on a PacificAus Sports' scholarship.

Oceania Rugby General Manager, Frank Puletua spoke to the significance of the WXV for Women’s Rugby in the region: “The opportunity for our regional teams to go on to compete in World Rugby’s WXV from the Oceania Championship is a game changer for women’s rugby in Oceania.

We will see more of our teams, especially from the Pacific, exposed to more International Rugby on an annual basis which will only lift their standards and competitiveness.  “Oceania Rugby is grateful for the support of Gold Coast Council, Bond University and PacificAus Sports in bringing the Oceania region's premier women’s XVs competition to the Gold Coast, Queensland,” said Puletua. Sereima Leweniqila, Vodafone Fijiana XV Captain said: “This tournament is important, not only to defend the title, enjoy rugby, to qualify for XV for the first time and make history”. “The opportunity to play for WXV is really important, with more exposure and game time, it’ll empower, inspire young girls to join rugby and we get to preach the gospel of rugby to not only Fiji but also our neighbouring Pasifika sisters. To be qualified, it’ll give so much more inspiration for younger girls to join and get on board of the Women’s Rugby around the Pacific”.

“We are quite excited, we’ve got a few young girls, preparations and team bonding has been high, so we got go out there and try and defend our titile,” Sereima added. 

Sui Pauaraisa, Manusina XV Captain said:

“This tournament gives us the opportunity to qualify for World XV, and is one of the goals for us as a team leading up to World Rugby Women’s World Cup 2025”

“It is rewarding and it’s important for its growth, it gives our local girls the opportunity to experience that level of Rugby. Manusina is an inspiration for our next gen, it is important to pave the way for them,” Sui added.

A total of six matches will be played across three days of competition. The full draw can be accessed here.  Match officials controlling the matches these weekend are:

  • Ella Goldsmith (Australia)
  • Lavenia Racaca (Fiji)

Broadcast of the tournament will be on Stan Sport, Digicel (Pacific Islands) and on Cluch (All other locations).

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