Australian Men's Sevens Heading To Rio With Massive Win At Oceania Tournament

15/11/2015 6:09 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST
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Simon Watts via Getty Images
AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 15: Australian players celebrate after winning the World Sevens Oceania Olympic Qualification Final between Australia and Tonga on November 15, 2015 in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Simon Watts/Getty Images)

Australia's Men's Rugby Sevens team has officially qualified for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

The Aussie team won the Oceania Sevens tournament on Sunday afternoon in Auckland -- which was doubling as the Oceania Regional Olympic qualifier -- defeating surprise finalist Tonga 50-nil.

Under the guidance of interim coach Tim Walsh, the team was emphatic in its performances across the weekend looking to put to bed all the questions around whether it would make it to Rio following an inconsistent performance in the 2014/2015 World Series -- which saw it miss out on Olympic auto-qualification -- and the departure of coach Geraint John in August.

Australia's success reflects the team's solid pre-season of training, conceding just one try across six matches in Auckland.

Tonga was Australia's opponent in the final -- a surprise to most as the expectation was that Pacific heavyweight and Australia's fellow World Rugby Tier One team Samoa, would be the likely candidate in the battle for the tournament title and the Olympic qualification.

Tonga made it to the final as a result of an outstanding semi final performance which saw the under-resourced team, under the guidance of dedicated coach Andy Katoa, defeat regional rivals Samoa 41-5.

There were no passengers in the Australian side with every member of the selected 12-man squad contributing on the scoreboard across the weekend and with strong on-field performances.

But the highlight from a weekend of such emphatic success has to be the performance of the newest member of the Australian team -- 18 year old Henry Hutchison -- who backed up his success at the recent Central Coast Sevens Tournament with an effort in this tournament which matched his much more experienced team mates play for play.

oceania sevens

(Henry Hutchison [Aust] scores a try during the Oceania Olympic Qualification Semi-Final match between Australia and PNG in Auckland. Photo by Simon Watts/Getty Images)

Now that the Olympics ticket is booked for the Australian Men's team -- joining the Women's team -- the question which now remains is who will coach this unit moving into a very busy ten months ahead?

Whoever gets the task as the new Men's coach, it is going to be a big year for both the Men's and Women's Sevens teams culminating in determined and achievable bids for podium finishes at the Rio Olympics.

The 2015/2016 World Rugby Sevens World series begins in just two weeks in Dubai.

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