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Our Boys Good: Baber

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber says critics boost the team to play harder and do their best for God, Fiji and their families. “We remain strong and we
03 Feb 2018 11:00
Our Boys Good: Baber
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s captain Seremaia Tuwai on attack during training in Hamilton on February 2,2018. Photo: Bruce Southwick/Zoom Fiji

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber says critics boost the team to play harder and do their best for God, Fiji and their families.

“We remain strong and we are learning along the way,”Baber said.

“We have been chosen to represent our God, our nation and our fami­lies to the best of our abilities.”

Fans voiced their disappointment after the team failed to go past the Cup quarterfinal at the Sydney 7s last week.

“The boys are good but obviously it is not nice when people heavily criticize your efforts and this can easily get to the players,”Baber said.

However, he stood by his players stating that this was part of a de­velopment process.

CONTRACTS A DISTRACTION

Meanwhile, Fiji Rugby Union John O’Connor doesn’t want to comment on players’ contracts.

This was after Baber told Radio New Zealand that the issuing of player contracts had been a distrac­tion to the team’s preparations.

“He is free to say what he likes but I’m not commenting on it,”O’Connor said.

Baber said: “I think it disrupted (the players) – it gets them perhaps thinking about other things that they don’t potentially need to think about.”

They finished sixth in Sydney Sevens after defeats by the United States and New Zealand on the final day.

Baber acknowledged it was not an ideal situation but expected every­thing to be resolved within a week.

“But they all know they’ve got contracts. Up until this point some of them wouldn’t have even known they had contracts so that’s a big tick for them to know they’re going to be a part of the group moving forward for this season.

“Beyond that it’s just getting the details sorted and being as comfort­able as possible so we can carry on with preparations.”

Baber said the players were still receiving daily allowances as per normal once signed, the new con­tracts would be backdated to Janu­ary.

“I’m confident we will get that sorted and the players will be in a better situation.”

Baber said between 18 and 22 play­ers were contracted by the FRU, which included a core group of 15-16 players plus an extended squad.

He said only seven or eight players from last year’s contracted list have been offered deals for 2018.

“There is communications with the FRU but essentially I’m saying what players I want contracted at that time,” he said.

The Fijian players were presented with the contracts before leaving for last weekend’s Sydney Sevens.

Fiji plays Wales at 11:36am today, Spain at 3:02pm and Australia at 6:50pm.

Edited by Osea Bola

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