SPORTS

Fijiana Seeking Slice Of 7s Glory

Emerging from the shadow of the all-conquering men’s team is a daunting prospect for Telecom Fijiana but they are starting to turn heads in their own right under the watchful
15 Feb 2016 12:03
Fijiana Seeking Slice Of 7s Glory
From left: Standing: Womens Rugby Coaching director Chris Craknell, Rusila Nagasau, Miriama Naiobasali, Litia Naiqato, Timaima Tamoi, Talica Vodo, Luisa Tisolo, Lavenia Tinai and coach Iliesa Tanivula. Kneeling: Viniana Riwai, Ana Maria Roqica, Miriama Marawa, Jiowana Sauto and Tima Ravisa after the naming at the Uprising Beach Resort yesterday. Photo: PAULINI RATULAILAI.

Emerging from the shadow of the all-conquering men’s team is a daunting prospect for Telecom Fijiana but they are starting to turn heads in their own right under the watchful eye of Chris Cracknell.

Playing ‘heads up’ rugby is in the DNA of Fiji’s players regardless of gender, that much was evident from the opening round of the 2015-16 HSBC World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series in Dubai last December when Litia Naiqato scored a sensational try for Fijiana against USA.

Turning that natural ability into tangible reward is the goal of Fiji women’s coaching director Chris Cracknell who, in less than six months in the job, is starting to make a big impact.

Unbeaten in pool play in Dubai, Fijiana eventually lost in the Plate semi-finals after defeats to France and New Zealand ended their interest in the Cup competition.

Getting the team to compete at the same level for two consecutive days has been one of the big areas of focus for Cracknell and his backroom staff in the intervening two months.

“No disrespect to the teams we played in the Oceania Olympic qualifiers but we weren’t really tested there, so I think Dubai gave us a bit of a wake-up call in the sense of where we are really at,” he said.

“The positive we got out of it was it showed the girls just how far they had come in their development and that they could compete with these teams.

They have learnt that their ability is far greater than they first envisaged and that no games are foregone conclusions.

“Unfortunately, after beating Canada and USA, the day two mentality crept in. Because of the need to qualify for the Olympics the girls hadn’t had much time to recover and the bodies were sore.

“We’re hoping to put right those wrongs in Sao Paulo.”

Fijiana will need to hit the ground running at Sao Paulo on Saturday and Sunday as they face Dubai winners Australia, Canada and Ireland in Pool A.

 

World Rugby

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