Rugby in Oceania to receive pre-Tokyo 2020 funding boost

Oceania's rugby sevens teams have been handed an increase in funding as they seek to replicate the achievement of the Fijian men's side at Rio 2016.

Fiji's 13-man squad became the country's first Olympic gold medallists when they triumphed at last year's Olympics.

The sevens team defeated Britain 43-7 in the final as the sport made its debut at the Games.

Before Rio, the Fijian team were also crowned as winners of the World Rugby Sevens Series after a number of fine performances.

Their achievements saw the team inducted into the Fiji Association of Sports and National Olympic Committee (FASANOC) Hall of Fame earlier this week, while they have also acted as an inspiration to the region's other sides.

Oceania Rugby's services manager Bruce Cook has now confirmed several teams are set to receive a funding boost as they look towards qualification for Tokyo 2020.

"This is the start of a new four-year cycle for Fijian rugby and other teams in the Pacific," Cook told the Fiji Sun.

"Most teams that missed out on the Olympics have been given additional funding and chances to get through the repechage, both men and women, [including] teams from Cook Islands, Samoa and Tonga.

"There are a number of exciting programmes aligned with the increase of funding, which rugby unions can apply for and the funding could help them.

"It is up to the National Federations to get their houses in order."

Australia, Fiji and New Zealand represented Oceania in the men's and women's competitions at last year’s Games.

Samoa narrowly missed out on securing the last place in the men's event, losing in the final qualifier to Spain.