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7s family first, Botia off to France

February 28
11:03 2014

By MAIKELI SERU

Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan has put the welfare of his players first in his preparation for the Japan-Hong Kong leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series.
Ryan cut short training yesterday to send his players home to be with their families, team manager Ropate Kauvesi said.
“Ben told us that family always comes first,” Kauvesi said.
“He said if players’ families are good, the players would play well,”he said.
“With the current bad weather, the players will not be fully focussed on training because they would be worried about their families and their loved ones. So, we have broken camp to allow them to be with their families in this time of need, especially in a natural disaster.
“The players were dropped at their respective homes including those in the West so that we can be assured that they reach home safely and also to make sure that their families are safe. They have their programmes and we will meet again after the Fiji Bitter Marist 7s where the 16players will be selected.
“From the 16 selected, Ben will name the travelling 12 players,” Kauvesi said.
He said the squad had a morning session yesterday where Ryan worked on set pieces and endurance.
“We had a tough session early in the morning before the players were taken to their homes.”

Botia off to France
Levani Botia, who stood in as captain after injury to Osea Kolinisau during the Wellington 7s, will leave next week for club contract in France.
He is the latest of Fijians players to be lured into overseas rugby contract. His departure could add woe to Ryan’s campaign in the ongoing HSBC World Sevens Series.
Botia, also a Flying Fijian, is known for his tenacious tackles and blockbusting runs.
“I am off next week with Sireli Bobo to play for La Rochelle Pro D2 in France. It is a break for me, I will be available for Fiji in next year’s Rugby World Cup and the Olympic Games if I am needed,” Botia told SUNSports yesterday.
Kauvesi said Botia’s Wardens Rugby Club had sought his release.
“Ben Ryan is aware. Botia’s club came for a meeting and sought his release and it was done in a proper way. We wish Botia well.”
Botia is among the senior players in the national 7s team. He joins the exodus of Fijian players to lucrative overseas contracts.
“While we try to work our best team for Rio, this is an issue we want to tackle. Our players are not contracted but end of the day they are the ones who put bread on the table,” Kauvesi said.
National 7s squad members will play for their clubs in next week’s Fiji Bitter Marist 7s at the ANZ Stadium, Suva.

From left: Vodafone Fiji 7s squad members Pio Tuwai, Samuela Saqiwa and Osea Kolinisau after the pool training at Uprising Beach Resort in Pacific Harbour on Wednesday. Photo: RAMA

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February 2014
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