10s Time Right

The inaugural Skipper Provincial Rugby 10s tournament at Bidesi Park today could not have happened at a better time. This is a missing link in the equation for years and
13 Jan 2018 11:13
10s Time Right
Nadroga rugby players train at the Ka Levu ground in Sigatoka on January 11, 2018. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The inaugural Skipper Provincial Rugby 10s tournament at Bidesi Park today could not have happened at a better time.

This is a missing link in the equation for years and we should be grateful that the concept has finally been included in the Fiji Rugby Union development pathway.

The 10s competition will help in preparing players before the Skipper Cup competition begins in April.

For years players have been given their off-season programmes to follow only for the coaches to know their form, fitness and shape when competition starts.

Perhaps this is why we are known for being slow starters and play catch-up rugby to win games because our bodies are not attuned to blast from the start when competition proper begins.

Basically the off-season programme is targeted in preparing the body for the next season.

But in this highly competitive world of rugby, getting help from professional and experienced strength and conditioning coaches is required to ensure players are not only training harder but smarter to be on top of their game and a step ahead when competition starts.

This is why we needed high intensity competition like the Skipper 10s to shake off the cobwebs earlier on. This is the way forward as it makes more impact than playing friendlies and warm-up games as a pre-cursor to the season.

Players can train as hard as they like but they need competitions to gauge their performance.

The 10s competition could also provide the leverage for both 15s and 7s.

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber and FRU should be commended for using the competition to test players and help them make an impact when they rejoined the World Sevens Series.

A case in point is Olympians Vatemo Ravouvou, Samisoni Viriviri and Kitione Taliga who will feature for Jack’s Nadi today.

They have been training hard during the off- season and the 10s competition could be a breakthrough in rebuilding their career in 2018.

The only Fijian to get the World Rugby Sevens Player Award in 2014, Viriviri didn’t only get the gong for his try-scoring prowess but he is an intelligent winger, good kicker and sound on and off –field demeanor. The 10s tournament could provide the springboard to make the Fiji Airways Drua and the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians.

Taliga had a quite season in 2017 after having a short stint with Stade Francais Rugby Club in France before he was included in the Fiji Airways Fijian Drua for the Australian  National Rugby Championship.

Taliga is a powerful impact player as was evident when he scored twice in the demolition of the Australia in the 2016 USA Sevens Cup final in Las Vegas.

He could fly the national colours again either in 7s or 15s and 2018 could be his year.

Ravouvou has had long sevens season and switching to 10s could help him shape his career in the long run as he is a specialist player in sevens.

He could also provide cover for Ben Volavola at No.10 for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians should he impress head coach John McKee.

But it could start from the Skipper 10s today as it can help players build their careers and in the process makes our nationals rugby teams stronger.

The 10s tournaments comes in at the right time and we should applaud CJ Patel Group for making it possible.



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