Pacific 7s teams to feature in Olympic preparation tournament

Three Pacific Islands teams will feature in a sevens invitational tournament in Wellington next weekend which ramps up preparations towards the Tokyo Olympics.

Takiwhitu Tūturu will feature eight men's and women's teams playing across two days at Hataitai Park.

The Tonga and Samoa Invitational sides will take part in the men's tournament alongside two All Blacks Sevens teams, while a Moana Pasifika squad will feature in the women's competition with two Black Ferns Sevens teams and a Black Ferns 15-a-side selection.

The Tongan squad was based in Auckland and would travel down to Wellington with head coach Tevita Tu'ifua on Tuesday.

The kingdom had been playing regularly in various tournaments across the North Island, including five matches against the All Blacks Sevens and a Fiji Barbarians team in February.

Manusina coach Ramsey Tomokino would guide the Samoa men's invitational team. He said the squad would be a mixture of New Zealand-based players, with about half having previous playing experience on the World Sevens Series.

New Zealand Rugby High Performance Sevens Manager, Tony Philp, said with international borders closed it was pleasing to be able to create a high level of competition.

"We are lucky to have really talented sevens players in our country so putting together a tournament like this is key for Olympic preparation."

The All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens teams would also play a series of exhibition games either side of the Hurricanes v Crusaders Super Rugby match next Sunday.

Tonga and Samoa were scheduled to compete in the final men's Olympic qualifying tournament in Monaco in June, with Samoa and Papua New Guinea to contest the women's event.

Takiwhitu Tūturu schedule:

Friday 9 April

10am Moana Pasifika v Black Ferns Sevens Black

10.30am Black Ferns Sevens White v Black Ferns Invitational

11am All Blacks Sevens White v All Blacks Sevens Black

11.30am Samoa Invitational v Tonga Invitational

2.30pm Moana Pasifika v Black Ferns Sevens White

3pm Black Ferns Sevens Black v Black Ferns Invitational

3.30pm Tonga Invitational v All Blacks Sevens White

4pm All Blacks Sevens Black v Samoa Invitational

Saturday 10 April

10am Black Ferns Invitational v Moana Pasifika

10.30am Black Ferns Sevens Black v Black Ferns Sevens White

11am All Blacks Sevens Black v Tonga Invitational

11.30am Samoa Invitational v All Blacks Sevens White

2.30pm Women's play-offs

3pm Women's play-offs

3.30pm Men's play-offs

4pm Men's play-offs