Samoa and HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series champions Fiji will be favourites to again contest the gold medal match at the Pacific Games 2015 when the rugby sevens competition gets underway in Port Moresby on Wednesday.

But for the other eight teams in the men’s competition there is an equally important target for them to aim for with one of Oceania Rugby’s two places in the Hong Kong Sevens qualification tournament to determine who will join the series as a core team in 2016-17.

The teams have been split into two pools with Fiji joined in Pool A by hosts Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Guam and Tahiti, while defending Pacific Games champions Samoa will tackle Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru and New Caledonia in Pool B.

It will be the first time that Nauru takes part in an international sevens competition after they became an associate member of Oceania Rugby at last year’s AGM in Tahiti, and for them it will be an important step in their development.

While Ryan has not picked a squad brimming with the star players who helped Fiji win a first world series title since 2006, there are still the likes of Savenaca Rawaca (pictured), Vatemo Ravouvou and Isake Katonibau, who will captain the side in Papua New Guinea.

Debut for Australia

The honour of kicking off the rugby sevens competition at the Pacific Games falls to Australia and Fiji in the women’s competition, two nations who would expect to be challenging for the gold medal on Friday at the Sir John Guise Stadium.

Making their debut in the Pacific Games, Australia have selected a blend of experience from the Women’s Sevens Series with some exciting new talent with Tim Walsh naming Nicole Beck – who also had the honour of carrying her country’s flag at the opening ceremony – as his captain.

Australia’s squad also includes a number of players who won gold at the Youth Olympic Games in China last year, including Dom du Toit and Brooke Anderson, the former scoring a hat-trick in the final against Canada.

The Australians finished third in the Women’s Sevens Series in 2014-15 and booked their place at Rio 2016 when rugby sevens will make its Olympic debut, while Fiji finished eighth in their first season as a core team on the series.

The women’s competition will be a round robin with Australia and 2011 Pacific Games champions Fiji joined by New Caledonia, hosts Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Tonga and Tahiti with the top two teams contesting the final and the next two the bronze medal match.

Pacific Games 2015 fixtures

Men’s competition

Pool A – Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Guam, Tahiti

Pool B – Samoa, Tonga, Vanuatu, Nauru, New Caledonia

Wednesday 8 July
13:28 – Fiji v Papua New Guinea
13:50 – Solomon Islands v Tahiti
14:12 – Samoa v Tonga
14:34 – New Caledonia v Vanuatu
16:46 – Fiji v Guam
17:08 - Papua New Guinea v Tahiti
17:30 – Nauru v Samoa
17:52 – New Caledonia v Tonga
20:04 – Fiji v Solomon Islands
20:26 – Guam v Papua New Guinea

Thursday 9 July
12:00 – Samoa v Vanuatu
12:20 – Nauru v Tonga
14:20 – Fiji v Tahiti
14:56 – Guam v Solomon Islands
15:18 – New Caledonia v Samoa
15:40 – Nauru v Vanuatu
17:52 - Papua New Guinea v Solomon Islands
18:14 – Guam v Tahiti
18:36 – Tonga v Vanuatu
18:58 – Nauru v New Caledonia

Friday 10 July
13:06 – Quarter-final
13:28 – Quarter-final
13:50 – Quarter-final
14:12 – Quarter-final
14:56 – Semi-final (plate)
15:18 – Semi-final (plate)
15:40 – Semi-final
16:02 – Semi-final
17:08 – Bowl final
17:30 – Seventh place play-off
17:52 – Plate final
19:27 – Bronze medal play-off
19:49 - Final
Women’s competition

Wednesday 8 July
12:00 – Australia v Fiji
12:22 – New Caledonia v Papua New Guinea
12:44 – Samoa v Tahiti
15:18 – Australia v New Caledonia
15:40 – Fiji v Samoa
16:02 - Papua New Guinea v Tonga
18:36 – Australia v Tahiti
18:58 – Fiji v Papua New Guinea
19:20 – New Caledonia v Tonga

Thursday 9 July
13:06 – Australia v Tonga
13:28 – Fiji v Tahiti
13:50 – New Caledonia v Samoa
16:24 – Australia v Samoa
16:46 – Fiji v Tonga
17:08 – Papua New Guinea v Tahiti
19:42 – Australia v Papua New Guinea
20:04 – New Caledonia v Tahiti
20:26 – Samoa v Tonga

Friday 10 July
12:00 – Fiji v New Caledonia
12:22 – Papua New Guinea v Samoa
12:44 – Tahiti v Tonga
16:46 – Fifth place play-off
18:36 – Bronze medal match
18:58 – Final

All times local (GMT +10)