SPORTS

Star Power For Rio 2016

Leone Nakarawa and Levani Botia continued where they left off at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom last month. And as the world’s leading rugby sevens nations
09 Nov 2015 10:40
Star Power For Rio 2016
Josua Tuisova

Leone Nakarawa and Levani Botia continued where they left off at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in the United Kingdom last month.

And as the world’s leading rugby sevens nations continue to beef up star power for Rio 2016, Nakarawa and Botia are in the running to make the cut in the Vodafone Fijian 7s team.

Coach Ben Ryan has already declared his interest in Botia and Nakarawa for Rio 2016.

The Vodafone Flying Fijians reps impressed for their clubs over the weekend.

Nakarawa, who played for Fiji at the Rugby Sevens World Cup in Moscow in 2013, featured in Glasgow Warriors 35-30 comeback win over the Cardiff Blues in the Guiness Pro 12 match.

Botia, former national 7s captain, scored for La Rochelle as they romped to a 38-3 victory over Oyonnax in the Top 14 encounter in France.

Another player on Ryan’s list, Josua Tuisova also made a name for himself scoring three tries in Toulon’s 52-8 demolition of Montpellier at Stade Mayol.

Veteran Sireli Bobo and Mosese Ratuvou, scored for Pau as they edged Agen 33-31.

Ra native Timoci Matanavou also scored for Toulouse in the 52-12 thrashing Grenoble.

While Ryan will bank on local players to carry the flag in the opening rounds of the World Rugby Sevens Series which starts next month in Dubai, Nakarawa, Botia and Tuisova and other overseas reps will be given game time before the Rio Olympics in August.

Test Talent

             South African winger Bryan Habana is the latest big name attached to the sport’s return to the Olympic programme next year, named on Wednesday in his nation’s sevens training squad for 2015-16.

             Quade Cooper and rampaging winger Henry Speight have already committed to Australia’s cause. But interim Aussie 7s coach Tim Walsh says there’s a host of players in the Test team that could also make the transition like Bernard Foley and Sean McMahon — both former sevens players — are obvious candidates.

             Already the world’s leading sevens side, New Zealand will be strong favourites heading into next year’s Games with the addition of superstar Sonny Bill Williams.

He will seek to add Olympic gold to what is already an extraordinary sporting trophy cabinet committing to the sevens squad along with fellow All Blacks star Liam Messam and rising star Ardie Savea.

             Great Britain qualified for Rio through England’s 7s side but they’ll also have the pick of talent from Scotland and Wales for next year’s Games.

With English clubs set to allow players to compete there’ll be plenty of talent to choose from.

England’s Danny Cipriani and Wales star George North are among some of the intriguing names among those rumoured to be in contention.

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

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