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Roko Back In 7s Team

Nasoni Roko has again proved his worth after being named in the Vodafone Fiji 7s squad to the second and third legs of the 2014-2015 IRB World Sevens Series, in
23 Nov 2014 10:58
Roko Back In 7s Team
The Vodafone Fiji 7s team to Dubai and South Africa. From left; Amenoni Nasilasila, Apisalome Waqatabu, Osea Kolinisau, Savenaca Rawaca, Jasa Veremalua, Semi Kunatani, Apisai Domolailai, Isake Katonibau, Jone Qorovarua, Nasoni Roko ,Vatemo Ravouvou and Seremaia Tuwai after their naming at the Uprising Resort yesterday. Photo: Jona Konataci

Nasoni Roko has again proved his worth after being named in the Vodafone Fiji 7s squad to the second and third legs of the 2014-2015 IRB World Sevens Series, in Dubai and South Africa.

The 12-member squad was named yesterday at the Uprising Beach Resort.

The 35-year-old will make his comeback after he last featured for Fiji at the 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong where Fiji won the Melrose Cup. Ryan said when it came down to selection of players, age should not be a barrier and no one should judge a book by its cover.

“Nasoni (Roko) was a pain to play against when I was coaching England and he has set an example for a couple of things,” Ryan said.

“Firstly, never start reading players’ dates of birth, judge them on their form. We are picking a team for now not for tomorrow.

“Nasoni has trained really well, he has had a lot of experience. Like Setefano Cakau, he’s got mana. And has an air about him and I’m delighted he has forced his way back in to the team because it’s beyond merit and he has played really well.

“He didn’t play in the Coral Coast Sevens because he had an ankle injury and he didn’t want to take the risk. But out here playing against the rest of the boys, he has played very well and has led by example.

“He has been there and done it and has heaps of experience He gives us that pace and power, and he has great flexibility and his quick enough skill at wing will be greatly utilised.”

With only two weeks until the Dubai Sevens, Ryan is happy with his selection and his only worry is injuries to the players in Dubai.

“We have put more playmakers on the field, especially playing against teams like France and Argentina who are structured and well organised,” said Ryan.

“It’s a good team, it’s got strength everywhere and I just hope we don’t pick up any injuries.

“There is a lot that feels good in this team and with the fact that we have a long way to go in the tournament, nobody is getting carried away.

“We have been working very hard in getting things right and getting better every day and the boys will certainly be on form as they ever were wearing that white shirt on their first game.”

The players were picked based on their fitness mainly and Ryan said while fitness is important, it was not the sole focus of the selection.

“Now we are not judging everyone on fitness but we need to be able to play our best game,” he said.

“If you get your fitness right and everyone’s working hard, it affects your mindset as well. You have to get through tough times to get yourself fit.

“If your body is sore and wants to give up, everything’s hurting, you want to throw up, it makes you mentally tough, it’s not just about the end result and getting fit.

“I look out on the side and I see how the boys are tapping each other on the back when the boys are really tired and I see the group getting even closer when we have these horrendous fitness sessions and this is what drives them.

“When we get to tougher times in the tournament it will remind them of the even tougher times we have had in the last five or six weeks. And we have a great side at the moment and it will get better as the weeks go by and it will be a worry for the rest of the world.”

The 12-member squad are Apisai Domolailai, Apisalome Waqatabu, Amenoni Nasilasila, Isake Katonibau, Jasa Veremalua, Jone Qorovarua, Nasoni Roko, Osea Kolinisau (Captain), Savenaca Rawaca, Semi Kunatani, Seremaia Tuwai and Vatemo Ravouvou.

The Vodafone Fiji 7s squad is in Pool A with Argentina, France and Brazil and will leave on November 26 for Abu Dhabi to acclimatise before the tournament in Dubai on November 5-6.

Feedback:  justine.mannan@fijisun.com.fj

 

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