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Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber shouts out instructions while Apisai Domolailai, Apenisa Cakaubalavu and Amenoni Nasilasila look on during training in Dubai on November 30, 2017. Photo: Ian Muir
December 01
15:00 2017

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber is positive with the progress the players have made preparing for the Dubai 7s tournament which kicks-off today.

Baber said the national side comprised a good mix of players who have the capabilities of making a mark at the first destination of the 2017/18 World Sevens Series.

“I am pleased with the way the players are developing both individually and collectively,” Baber said.

“We have a strong group of forwards who possess different attributes.

“In the backline I’m excited to see the contribution of both Eroni Sau and John Stewart as they both had good Australia National Rugby Championship performances and will be looking at them taking some of that form into the tournament.

“I’m sure the fans are aware of how important the battle for the kickoffs and controlling possessions are.  It will be a huge element to our success.

“Seremaia Tuwai, Vatemo Ravouvou, Waisea Nacuqu and Amenoni Nasilasila are game breakers and I will be looking to them to manage our game.”

“Despite the change in weather and time zones plus the travel time of a day it was imperative that we arrived in Dubai early.

“This allowed for the players to acclimatize to local conditions but also for their bodies to adjust to such a dramatic change.”

The Welshman has big boots to fill, given the achievements of his predecessor Ben Ryan, but he is excited by the task at hand.

“It is the national sport in Fiji, and the sevens team has a place in everyone’s heart,” Baber told The National.

“It is a massive part of the community and people’s lives.

That takes a bit of getting used to, and you have to make changes, not all necessarily what you want.

Fiji take on Russia at 7.06pm tonight Wales at 10.06pm and Australia at 4.06am on Saturday.

The quarterfinals will start at 6.30pm Saturday, semifinal will be held at 1.19am Sunday while the final will kick off at 4.33am Sunday.

South Africa are the defending champions while Fiji have won the Dubai 7s title twice which was in 2013 and 2015 and have lost out in the final seven times.

Edited by Osea Bola




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