8 Jul 2015

Sport: Nauru 7s team to make international debut

6:38 pm on 8 July 2015

Nauru is making its international rugby debut this evening in the sevens competition at the Pacific Games in Port Moresby.

Rugby has only been running in the republic since 2011 but interest is steadily growing.

The President of the Nauru Rugby Union, Kieren Keke, says due to financial restrictions the team did all its preparation on Nauru and is made up of only local players.

Their first match is a daunting one against World Series regulars and Pacific Games champions Samoa but Kieren Keke says they welcome the challenge.

"This is a great baptism for our boys. It's going to really show them how sevens is played on the international stage [and] it's going to be a great learning experience. We're fortunate today that we have the single match against Samoa and then we've got the evening to regroup, and look at how the boys performed, before a busier day tomorrow with three matches."

Kieren Keke says their main target at the Games is to gain experience but they're quietly confident they can cause an upset.

Dr Keke is one of five MPs who has been suspended from Nauru's parliament for more than a year amid an ongoing clampdown by the government on freedom of expression.

Pacific Games Papua New Guinea

The sun sets at the athletes village in Papua New Guinea at the 2015 Pacific Games. Photo: Lee Maoate-Cox