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No Body Count, Baber Relieved

No Body Count, Baber Relieved
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s playmaker Amenoni Nasilasila is full flight with Semi Kunatani and Samisoni Viriviri in support against Samoa during the Hong Kong Sevens on April 6, 2018. Fiji won 31-12. Photo: Kitione Rokomanu/Zoom Fiji.
April 08
11:02 2018

Fijians survive Samoa test in Hong Kong opener as coach plans ahead

It took all of 24 seconds for Fiji to make their intentions at the Hong Kong Sevens crystal clear.

Winger Eroni Sau was the man who crossed the line for that first try and the Fijians went on to down Samoa 31-12 as they aim to win the event for a record fourth straight time and an 18th time in total.

There were flashes of what makes this team special– and so loved in Hong Kong–  with Amenoni Nasilasila’s second-half try the pick of the goodies on offer as he shifted right, then left and then over as the Samoans grasped at air.

But there was room for improvement, too, as the Samoans took the game to the champions in the second half.

Coach Gareth Baber cast a pleased but cautious figure by game’s end, having made five substitutions in the second half as he looked to give his squad a workout.

“When you get these two teams against each other sometimes by the end you need to do a body count but we all survived,” Baber told South China Morning Post.

“So I am pleased with that. I am pleased with what we delivered as well.

“We talked about bringing pace to the game and we talked about bringing power and when you get those combinations going at the right time you are going to put the opposition under pressure and they make errors.

“I thought we could be a little bit tighter sometimes when we didn’t have the ball. But it’s the first game against local rivals and we knew it was going to physical.”

The Kiwis have seven players making their Hong Kong Sevens debut but they seemed to have taken to the event instantly, marching over Russia 36-5.

The star of that particular show was the hulking Joe Ravouvou – himself a debutant here last year – with two tries.

Edited by Osea Bola



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