Opinion

Time For Baber To Play Smart In Paris, London 7s

Vodafone Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber should consider taking a new-look team to the Paris and London Sevens tournaments set for next month. Realistically, our chances of retaining the
30 Apr 2017 10:38
Time For Baber To Play Smart In Paris, London 7s
Vodafone Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber.

Vodafone Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber should consider taking a new-look team to the Paris and London Sevens tournaments set for next month.

Realistically, our chances of retaining the HSBC World Sevens Series have gone. Instead we should be working on how best we could utilise the Paris and London tournaments.

Planning ahead is very important, if we are to do well in the Commonwealth Games, which is set for April 4-15, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia and then the Sevens Rugby World Cup, which is on July 20-22, 2018 in San Francisco, USA.

With the most important assignment set for 2020 in Tokyo, Japan where we go in defend the Olympic Games gold medal.

So for a start, Baber should give our Rio Olympic gold medallist heroes a well-earned break. A time to spend with their families and recuperate from the injuries they had suffered during the 2016/17 World Sevens Series.

This should allow Baber the chance to try out a few veterans who are on a comeback trail and a couple of upcoming players who have been knocking on the selection door for some time now.

Again this is going to be a bold move. But we’ve got nothing to lose if we intend to take on the challenge. We’ve got to play smart if we intend to keep our No. #1 status in the world of sevens rugby.

With the abundance of talented players around and providing them that window of opportunity to rub shoulders with the world’s best is indeed going to benefit Fiji Rugby in the long run.

For Baber, this will give him a wider base to select his team from.

The Welshman should give veterans Leo Naikasau, Sitiveni Waqa, Manueli Laqai, William Ryder and Peni Daunimeke a chance to show whether they still have got it with them.

And at the same time, he should try out former Pacific sprint king, Banuve Tabakaucoro, and 2015 Coca-Cola Games senior boys 400m champion Batinisavu Uluniyata, who had a short rugby stint in France and now plays for Wardens Gold.

Tabakaucoro and Uluniyata have been moulded by top sevens coaches Manasa Bari, Etonia Naba, Josateki Savou Snr and Sailosi Naiteqe Jr. They could very well provide the much-needed speed Baber is looking for out-wide and this could only happen if they are given a chance.

So for Baber and the Fiji Rugby Union it’s time to bite the bullet and take on the challenge.

Again it’s a matter of playing smart if we are to keep the opposition guessing while we are steps ahead of them.

 

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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