Let’s Give Baber Time To Build his Team
Yes, our Vodafone Fijian 7s team were yesterday bundled out of the Cup quarterfinals of the Sydney Sevens, making our chances of retaining the World Sevens Series very slim.
Our 24-21 loss to New Zealand at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney yesterday does not mean that it is the end of the world for us.
In actual fact it was to be expected with the changes that took place after we won the gold medal at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, last August.
Our new head coach, Gareth Baber is on his first World Sevens Series assignment with the Vodafone Fijians.
The Welshman like anyone else needs time to settle down and get to know the players well. Even former head coach Ben Ryan acquired similar results during his first Series tour but as time went on he was able to build on from there.
We’ve got to give Baber breathing space as he works on the players he needs to be in the team. This is after we’ve lost sevens stars like Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata, Savenaca Rawaca, Kitione Taliga who are now contracted with overseas clubs while Isake Katonibau, who is tied down with work commitments at the Republic of the Fiji Military Forces.
So far, the Fiji Rugby Union should be commended for allowing the two opening legs of the 2016/17 World Sevens Series, as a breeding ground for rookies like Setareki Bituniyata, Kalione Nasoko, Maleli Kunavula, Alivereti Veitokani, Josua Vici and Nacanieli Labalaba. The experience these young players have gained from playing in such a highly competitive environment is surely going to augur well for the future.
As of now we’ve got to be patient with our rebuilding programme as our immediate focus should be on next year’s
- Commonwealth Games, which is on April 4 to 15 in Gold Coast, Australia
- Sevens Rugby World Cup to be staged in San Francisco, United States of America.
With that done, then it comes to the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan where we go in as the defending gold medal winners.
So for now, let’s be smart in our approach. Always remember the adage that ‘Rome was not built in a day’. Let’s give time to Baber to do his work and that includes making necessary changes and selecting players that he feels could deliver us the much desired results..