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Face Of Defeat

Face Of Defeat
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber in San Francisco as the team lost. Photo: Kitione Rokomanu/ZoomFiji
July 24
13:04 2018

The body language said it all.

Head down, shoulders drooped, Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber yesterday revealed his reasons for Fiji’s dismal performance at the Rugby World Cup Sevens semifinal and playoff for the bronze medal at the AT&T Park, San Francisco, yesterday.

He said the lack of time for our Europe-based players to acclimatise to 7s rugby was a contributing factor to their 22-17 loss to New Zealand.

Toulon winger Josua Tuisova and Semi Radradra struggled to keep up with the pace of the game before they ran out of steam and were replaced; Leone Nakarawa was not his usual self when he came in the second the half.

They lost to South Africa to finish a disappointing fourth after coming third in the 2013 tournament in Russia.

When approached yesterday Baber said the three players had struggled to keep their form when fatigue crept in.

“Probably New Zealand had capitalised on it,” he added.

Baber said the team failed to find the form they were in during the Cup quarterfinal match against Argentina.

“We lost control of possession and the kick-offs as well,” Baber said.

He also pointed out that he started Amenoni Nasilasila because he had certain skills set that was needed.

New Zealand 7s winger Joe Ravouvou told Fiji Sun that their game plan was to throw the ball outside and make the much bigger Fijian players run more.

Legendary sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said a huge transition time was needed for a 15s rugby player to adapt to 7s rugby.

“You’ve got to be certain with their fitness. What generally happens the running loads  has to go with the training and playing the 7s game. If you don’t the player actually starts seizing up. Sevens rugby is totally different with the right of its own.”

Sir Gordon said while it’s good to bring in 15s players to 7s, they firstly must be with the team consistently for about two to three months.

“As they come in put him with a conditioner trainer to work with him for about 12 weeks under a strict programme specifically designed for 7s and continue on from there,” Sir Gordon said.

New Zealand is now the first team to win the 7s World Cup for a third time after beating England 33-12 in the Cup final.

Ravouvou said the win was significant and a way of expressing his gratitude to his family and friends for their support.

Edited by Osea Bola


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