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Nuku’alofa – June 22, 2021: 4.45pm (Nuku’alofa Times): Both Tonga and Samoa will not play at the upcoming Olympic Games 7s rugby competition after they failed to qualify from the Final Olympic Sevens Qualifying Tournament in Monaco at the weekend.

European teams France, Russia and Ireland have secured final tickets to Tokyo.

2016 repechage runners up Samoa had started with a hiss and a roar on day one of the men’s competition, thrashing Mexico 69-5, Tonga 47-5 and Zimbabwe 33-7.

But the Manu were beaten 21-7 by eventual winners Ireland in their final group match on Sunday to finish second in Pool A.

Samoa were beaten by eventual winners Ireland in their final pool game in Monaco. Photo: Giorgio Perottino – World Rugby/World Rugby via Getty Images

Samoa were no match for France in the semi finals, with the Pool B winners running out comfortable 33-0 winners but it was the Irish who prevailed 28-19 in the final to claim the final Olympic qualifying berth in the men’s draw.

Tonga missed out on the semis after managing just one win from four in pool play but the kingdom still achieved a major milestone at the weekend.

Former All Black centre Malakai Fekitoa, ex Wallabies loose forward Lopeti Timani and former Australian Sevens international Afusipa Taumoepeau are now eligible to play for the ‘Ikale Tahi 15-a-side team after featuring in at least 50 percent of Tonga’s matches in Monaco.

After their first up defeat by Samoa, the kingdom were outclassed 43-0 by Ireland before securing a narrow 21-12 win over Mexico on day one, and let a 10-0 lead slip to lose their final match 26-17 against Zimbabwe.

Tonga Rugby Union decided at the 11th hour to send players from Europe to the play-offs because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That ruled out players who had been training in New Zealand under head coach Tevita Tuifua in the last 24 months.

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