Sunvoice

Oceania Success Part Of Build-Up For Rio Olympics

The Vodafone Fiji 7s team and Telecom Fijiana deserve praise for their performance at the  Oceania Sevens Championships at Noosa, Australia, over the weekend. Ben Ryan’s second string team played
06 Oct 2014 09:01
Oceania Success Part Of Build-Up For Rio Olympics

The Vodafone Fiji 7s team and Telecom Fijiana deserve praise for their performance at the  Oceania Sevens Championships at Noosa, Australia, over the weekend. Ben Ryan’s second string team played with confidence and guts to defeat New Zealand 21-5 in the final. Fijiana under the guidance of coach Iliesa Tanivula came third in the women’s competition after New Zealand, the eventual winner, and Australia.

Mr Ryan’s team performance has lifted competition for places in his top team to a higher level. This weekend, his Number One team will be flying the Fijian colours at the Gold Coast Sevens.

Between the two teams, he will pick his top squad. The players know that they have to consistently play well to remain in the squad.

Saturday’s victory gives the team for the Gold Coast a challenge to perform well and recapture the title they lost last year. The Gold Coast has been a favourable hunting ground for the Fijians.

If they win, it would be a perfect start to their build-up for the Rio Olympics. Mr Ryan has been blooding new, young and talented players. He has also recalled some old hands. He hopes in among the mix, he will find the dream team to win gold. The intense competition for places augers well for the Fijian team’s prospects in the HSBC Sevens World Series.

In the women’s section Mr Tanivula has done a remarkable job in coaching the Fijiana. Now, they are ranked with the top teams  in the world. In its relatively short history, the women’s rugby has rapidly developed. With limited finance and resources our women have persevered.

Before Mr Tanivula, Timoci Wainiqolo coached the Fijiana. He too should be recognised for his early efforts.

Telecom came to their rescue with its sponsorship. It has helped to give our women the impetus to lift their game. Last month in Hong Kong, the Fijianas won the final of the IRB Women’s Sevens Qualifier. Now they enter the IRB HSBC World Series. They will join Mr Ryan’s men in the Dubai leg of the series in December.

It will be a proud moment for both teams. Dubai has a lot of symbolism for the Fijians. It was there, last year, that the Fijians delivered for Mr Ryan, a near-perfect display of 7s rugby when they thumped New Zealand 44-0 in the final. It was Mr Ryan’s second tournament in the series after the failure in the Gold Coast Sevens.

No doubt the Fijiana will get moral support from  Ryan’s men.

They will draw inspiration from the men who have endured many physical battles in the international circuit.

For Mr Ryan and Mr Tanivula, their biggest goal is Rio in 2016. If they set the course right, now, gold will be within their reach.

Feedback:  nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 




Fiji Sun Instagram
Fiji Plus
Subscribe-to-Newspaper