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London, Ideal Place To Launch Fijian Campaign For Rugby World Cup Sevens

London, Ideal Place To Launch Fijian Campaign For Rugby World Cup Sevens
Vodafone Fijian 7s Coach Gareth Baber
May 20
09:50 2017

The Vodafone Fijian 7s reps have another opportunity this weekend to redeem themselves. Winning the London 7s tournament at Twickenham is not an impossible mission. We have won there before so this is not a new experience.

Coach Gareth Baber has a new crop of players who have been introduced to the world circuit. With it comes challenges and these are normal. Since the debutants entered the scene, we have seen them suffer from the jitters. Mistakes and wrong options are symptomatic of the inexperience and nervousness that hovers over the team.

In the Paris 7s, it was obvious they lacked that mental edge to step up at crucial moments and take control of the game. They looked lethargic at times, and failed to capitalise on the opposition’s mistakes. There was no urgency in their offence and their defence was atrocious.

If they are to win this weekend, they have to improve big time in defence and attack. Their tackles must count and their possession turned to points.

In short, they should change their attitude and assert their influence on  the match.

They may be rookies but each of them has great talents and athleticism. On paper, they have great potential and that’s why they have been selected.

Baber recognised their potential and brought them in to get the much needed exposure. The results of this weekend tournament will not make much difference to the final outcome of the series. South Africa have won it after they bagged the Paris 7s.

But from our perspective it is important to bounce back and recapture lost ground. We cannot afford to allow our losing streak to continue. We also do not want to be a one tournament wonder.

We won convincingly in Hong Kong, 7s holy grail, but we slipped back in the subsequent tournaments.

Our reps should regard this weekend as the launching pad for their preparation for the Commonwealth Games which is on April 4-15, next year and followed by the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, USA, in July and the new World series.

They should run out today feeling unrestrained and play the sort of game that we love and enjoyed by the rugby world.

We should not write off the team or Baber yet but give them the opportunity to regroup, learn from their mistakes and make amends.

We all know that when the reps put their act together, like they did in Hong Kong, they can produce marvelous results.

We need to continue to give them our moral support through prayers.

Individually, they are some of the best 7s players the country can produce at this time. But they need nurturing and patience to enable them to grow and reach their full potential.

The older players, including skipper Osea Kolinisau, started like that before they grew into their own. Experience gained from game time has moulded their character and resolve. They peaked in Rio when they won the Olympic gold medal. You could see it in their body language, the way they played and enjoyed the game.

We should allow our younger reps the same privilege to develop in the same way.

We know that they play in a very competitive environment. The Fijian public expectation for them to win is high. So they face tremendous pressure to perform.

Let’s support them and may be judge them after next year’s World Cup.



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