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Fijiana Score Big Wins In Japan

Telecom Fijiana coach Iliesa Tanivula may say his side are “punching above their weight” with their fifth-place finishes this season, but many believe a first Cup semi-final appearance is not
23 Apr 2017 11:40
Fijiana Score Big Wins In Japan

Telecom Fijiana coach Iliesa Tanivula may say his side are “punching above their weight” with their fifth-place finishes this season, but many believe a first Cup semi-final appearance is not too far away.

Yesterday, the Fijiana recorded big wins in their pool matches of the 2016/17 World Sevens Series Kitakiyushu Sevens in Japan.

They first walloped Ireland 45-0 before they thrashed Brazil 34-7 to await their final pool clash against Australia.

Tanivula said the squad came out a week earlier than usual and were hosted in Oita, allowing them time to settle and recover from the journey and fine-tune their preparations which could prove the difference as they seek a first-ever Cup semi-final appearance – something World Rugby commentator Willie Los’e believes they will achieve before the season is out. “We’ve been happy so far,” admitted Tanivula.

“Compare that to last year when we finished from sixth to ninth. We have been lucky with injuries this time, we haven’t had a lot of major injuries, and that’s one of the reasons why we have made the step up.

“For the girls to be finishing fifth in the world series is a huge step; they are punching above their weight. We enjoy coming out to play and seeing what the other countries and the series as a whole has to offer.”

Fijiana currently sit in fourth place in the standings with 36 points, two above France and Russia, and another strong tournament is vital if they are to realise their goal of booking their place at Rugby World Cup Sevens 2018 in San Francisco.

With four teams– New Zealand, Canada, Spain and USA – qualified as the semi-finalists at Moscow 2013, the best four teams excluding those from the 2016-17 series will join them and Fijiana are second in that race at present, behind Australia.

“That is definitely important for us and it is something we have spoken about as a squad,” explained Tanivula. “At the moment, we are fourth in the (overall) standings and if we can stay up there until after Clermont-Ferrand in June, it will be huge for us.”

Results: USA 19-10 Spain, Canada 29-12 England, Fijiana 45-0 Ireland, Australia 38-0 Brazil, Russia 26-5 France, New Zealand 31-0 Japan, USA 27-5, Fijiana 34-7 Brazil, Ireland 0-36 Australia.



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