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Fiji Sevens Coach Warns Of Japanese Threat In Dubai

Rugby World Cup success to trigger Japan’s 7s preparations. Former Fiji 7s star halfback coaches Japanese side to Oceania 7s in Suva   
20 Oct 2019 11:19
Fiji Sevens Coach Warns Of Japanese Threat In Dubai
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s playmaker Waisea Nacuqu runs away from a Japanese player druing the Sydney 7s in the 2018/19 World Sevens Series. Photo: World Rugby

Japan could be one of Fiji’s toughest opponents in pool play during the 2019/20 World Sevens Series which starts in Dubai on December 5-7.

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber said the Japanese side could be buoyed by the performance of the Brave Blossoms in the Rugby World Cup.

Fiji are in Pool A with Japan, Argentina and France.

“It has got to be tough, it is the World Series and anybody that has been involved with it has seen how tough it can be,” Baber said.

“Argentina and France has pushed us very hard in the last few years and we won’t be taking them easily.

“And we have got Japan, we have seen some great performances in Japan in the World Cup and they have been looking forward to taking that into 7s as they would be hosting the Tokyo Olympics next year.

“We are the series champions and we want to go on and protect that and what I’ll do is ensure that we look at the next two months in developing the players. So far new players are adding in and looking to the future of Fiji 7s as well.

“It is not about the next season, it is about the next five to 10 years as well and what Fiji 7s can do in the world.”

The Fijians are also pooled with Japan in next month’s Oceania 7s tournament at the ANZ Stadium, Suva. The Japanese are coming with coach and former Fijian star halfback Paulo Nawalu.

Baber said the team was already in camp and there was no pressure on them.

“I want to see their talent come through and when it does come through it remains there in future,” he said.

“Anybody can represent Fiji and that’s what we want, the best players representing Fiji but there is a recipe that you have got to get right through this to next year and the recipe is we are going to play in 10 tournaments plus the Olympics, we are going to play in the Oceania tournaments next month.

“I have spoken to a number of clubs in Europe about players but the reality is we are obviously going to have to see what their contracts look like in Europe and when they can they might possibly be involved.”

Oceania 7s

Baber said this was a crucial year for the development of the team.

“I haven’t announced it yet I have plans about what that will look like, obviously we don’t actually play the full tournament because we have qualified for the Olympics and we are in a blessed position to,” he said.

“Then possibly look at some combinations I want to have a look at new players that have done well that could possibly have exposure at that level at playing at the ANZ Stadium, against the likes of New Zealand, Japan.

“But what I don’t want to do is lose some momentum as well in the group that has got it so far over the last two years has developed.”

Edited by Osea Bola

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