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Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan is closely monitoring the progress of his players ahead of the Dubai 7s starting on Friday. “The weather and the time are fine with
30 Nov 2014 14:45
Ryan Firm
Vodafone Fiji 7s rep Savenaca Rawaca (left), with a fan, Ratu Savenaca Tui in Dubai yesterday. Photo: Ben Ryan

Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan is closely monitoring the progress of his players ahead of the Dubai 7s starting on Friday.

“The weather and the time are fine with the sun shining like it is in Fiji but a lot drier so a lot more sweating but no problem for us,” Ryan said.

“On the time difference, they’re not quite there yet but most of the boys had breakfast at around 6am and in bed at 10pm which is great. Hopefully by Monday by the time we get into Dubai team hotel they’ll be well over their jet lag.

“Diet-wise, all I’m doing is keeping an eye and making sure they’re continuing to get information and education around nutrition and what’s good for them. And we’re lucky here that we’ve got a wide range of food available for them.”

The team had their first coaching clinic with the Abu Dhabi Harlequins kid’s club on Friday, which included Fiji-born Ratu Savenaca Tui, whose father Sitiveni Tui had served in the Fiji Navy in 2000.

The team had another clinic yesterday and are expected to play a match with their host Abu Dhabi Harlequins today, before heading to the official hotel tomorrow.

Meanwhile, Ryan told The Gulf News that Fiji being favourite to win the Dubai 7s was understandable because of their form.

“It was great to win the Oceania 7s and the first leg of the world series on the Gold Coast. And what makes it even better is that we did it with two different teams.

“All that was achieved under a cloud of financial issues and a loss of key players. We have the depth but it’s not bottomless, and it still takes time, resources and effort for a player to come into the squad and get to the level of fitness and discipline required.”

The standout performer for Fiji in Dubai last year was Samisoni Viriviri, who was signed by French club Montpellier in the summer.

Ryan said losing him and a number of other players was potentially crippling, adding: “It’s obviously very hard to replace the first Fijian to be named world player of the year. On top of that, we have lost our regular centre, hooker and prop from last season.

“Of the side that won in Dubai last year, probably only two players remain. Some have missed out on form, but most have left to go overseas. We have lost more players than any other of the top six by a large margin.

“Five of our regular six that played nearly all the tournaments last year are unavailable.

“The team is training hard, taking the fitness-test results to the next level and working hard for each other. It is pleasing.”

Gary Chapman, President Group Services and Dnata, Emirates Group, said: “Fiji have been performing brilliantly recently, and their results are even more impressive given the disruptions they have had to their team structure and preparations.

“They are incredibly entertaining to watch and we look forward to seeing them in action again as they attempt to defend the trophy they won in Dubai last year.

“Their attendance is sure to provide some of the highlights of the Emirates Airline Dubai Rugby Sevens this year.”

Feedback: eroni.tuinaceva@fijisun.com.fj

 

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