From The Desert To The Olympics, Let’s Start Again At 7he Sevens
It all started in the desert for our proud rugby nation this time last year.
Under former coach Ben Ryan, the Vodafone Fijian 7s team began the 2015/16 World Sevens Series by winning the opening leg at the series at 7he Sevens in Dubai and followed that up with two more leg wins in Las Vegas and Hong Kong to seal back-to-back Series crowns for the first time ever.
And there was more to come.
The Osea Kolinisau-captained team capped off the season by being crowned Olympic champions in Rio in August.
Although we have been competing in the World Sevens Series since its inception in 1999, the start of the 2016-17 World Sevens Series today in Dubai will mark a new era.
It’s of special significance to us since we will be competing for the first time as current World and Olympic champions.
Simply put, the focus of the world and the fans will be on us to deliver.
We will always make the headlines whether we win or lose.
It’s a tag that will be associated with us for the next four years.
It’s a challenge the team will face and they will need to prove to the world that they can operate under a new coach.
And the man who has currently replaced Ryan, feels his players’ humble and grounded attitudes will ensure their feet don’t get too far off the ground.
Nacanieli Cawanibuka knows what’s involved, being with Ryan for the past three years as strength and conditioning coach.
And like Ryan, he’s strict on discipline, diet, attitude, and expecting the maximum from the players.
The Kadavu native was spot on when he fronted the media in Dubai on Wednesday.
“We have a rich history which gives players added pressure to perform to the expectations of our people.
“We have a large pool of players underneath the team, so complacency is something the boys’ have to be really careful about.
“For every player it could be their last tournament; we always tell them that. Underneath this team there are six or seven guys fighting for that jersey. There’s a legacy behind the Fiji sevens and that’s what I feel helps the team perform.”
‘Sevens from Heaven’ the story of Fiji Sevens
Yesterday, World Rugby Sevens Series title sponsor, HSBC, released a new documentary that tells the story of the Fijian team winning gold in Rio.
Director of the film, Bruce Southwick said of the launch: “Rugby Sevens only lasts 14 minutes on the pitch, but the real story lies in the journey that these amazing players have been on over the last few years.”
Another new journey starts for the players today in the desert.
We have achieved incredible results creating history in the past and it’s time to be involved and do it again.