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Family First for Oscar: Baber

  The departure of captain Osea ‘Oscar’ Kolinisau presents an opportunity for other players to step up and make their mark in the national team, says Gareth Baber. The Vodafone
28 Jul 2017 11:00
Family First for Oscar: Baber
Former Vodafone Fijian 7s captain Osea Kolinisau.

 

The departure of captain Osea ‘Oscar’ Kolinisau presents an opportunity for other players to step up and make their mark in the national team, says Gareth Baber.

The Vodafone Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber shared after Kolinisau signed a multi-year contract to play for the Houston Strikers in the inaugural Major League Rugby competition in the United States.

Baber told Radio New Zealand he had been kept in the loop about his skipper’s plans.

“I’d spoken to Osea several times over the last year about where he was looking at for his future and he is at that stage of his career where obviously his value is important to him, in terms of creating a future for his family,” Baber said.

“So for me it provides an opportunity for blooding new players, developing other leaders within the group and changing the dynamic of the group as well and pushing through for the next three years into Tokyo in 2020 so one door closes and another opens.”

Baber said the Fijian squad is in a transition phase after the loss of a handful of senior players over the past 12 months with Kolinisau joining the likes of Samisoni Viriviri, Viliame Mata and Masivesi Dakuwaqa.

“You’re losing an Olympic winner and obviously that experience that you’ve seen over the last few years but in terms of Fiji we wish him well,” he added.

“Osea has been a great servant for Fiji rugby but for me it’s important now that we focus on what we need to do in the future, wish him best of luck and get on with what we need to do.

The Welshman confirmed two players from last year’s World Series squad will not be returning next season, as cashed-up overseas clubs, particularly in France, offer contracts Fiji are unable to match.

“Setareki Bituniyata has gone to France. That’s the only other one that’s confirmed to go.

“Joeli Lutumailagi I think has been offered a contract in France but that hasn’t been confirmed yet, so there’s two that won’t be coming back (with) obviously Osea being the third.

He said a decision on who will inherit the Fijian captaincy will be made after the players go into camp in September.

“I was pleased to see someone like a Mesulame Kunavula who in his first year on the series, captained the team in a couple of games in France which was really encouraging.

“And you’ve got the likes Seremaia Tuwai and Vatemo Ravouvou who are good leaders, and Apisai Domolailai, so there’s some good leadership still around the group. It’s just making sure you get that balance right.”

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback:  grace.narayan@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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