Opinion

Breeding New Sevens Olympians, Way Forward For Gareth Baber & Co

The inclusion of sevens rugby for the first time at the Olympic Games has changed the whole dynamics of the game, especially for our proud sporting nation. We celebrated success
07 May 2017 11:00
Breeding New Sevens Olympians, Way Forward For Gareth Baber & Co
Vodafone Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber at the Nadi International Airport on May 5, 2017. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The inclusion of sevens rugby for the first time at the Olympic Games has changed the whole dynamics of the game, especially for our proud sporting nation.

We celebrated success in the past, but none can be compared to our achievements last year after our first gold medal win at the Rio Olympics. It stands as the pinnacle of all our sporting achievements so far.

The golden achievement lifted the profile of rugby at home and abroad to a new high.

It changes the World Sevens Series to be more competitive like never before since it started in 1999.

Defending the series for the last two years, it’s out of our reach now.

With one tournament win going into the last leg in Paris-London starting this weekend, the competitive nature clearly showed that we can’t rest on our laurels as Olympic champions anymore.

More planning and selection of a new crop of players is the way forward in starting afresh.

It is therefore timely that Vodafone Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber has made a bold and right decision in including four players who are all likely to make their debut in Paris or London.

The emphasis now is building for the future. Fans should bear with Baber as he plots the way forward as we look to another exciting year in 2018.

Apart from the 2017-18 World Sevens Series, we also have the Rugby Sevens World Cup (RSWC) in San Francisco and the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia.

We have a lot to play for and a chance to reclaim our dominance in the abbreviated code.

We won the Sevens World Cup twice – in 1997 and 2005. But we have never won the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.

This is a challenge for Baber and he should be given the support he deserves.

As the coach, he knows best and he should be given the liberty to map a strategy for the World Cup and Commonwealth Games.

He has copped a lot of flak since taking over from Englishman Ben Ryan.

Before departing with the team for Paris 7s on Friday, Baber said: “My job is to grab new players, develop and add strength to the squad. I know it has been tough this year in terms of South Africa being the most consistent team.”

But players must know that every tournament and every game counts and must deliver as expected.

Of course we will win and lose some, but we should be collective in our focus in which direction we are heading.

 

Feedback:  oseab@fijisun.com.fj



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