SPORTS

BACK FOR 7s GLORY

Another 7s star, Samisoni Viriviri, has fought his way back into the Team Fiji men’s rugby squad for the Com­monwealth Games. Viriviri, who was named Player of the Year in
25 Mar 2018 12:20
BACK FOR 7s GLORY
Samisoni Viriviri with his 2013/2014 World Sevens Series player of the year award

Another 7s star, Samisoni Viriviri, has fought his way back into the Team Fiji men’s rugby squad for the Com­monwealth Games.

Viriviri, who was named Player of the Year in the 2013/14 World Rugby Sevens Series and Olympic gold medallist, said he had resolved his differences with Baber and was pre­pared to represent his country.

He will join ‘The Beast’ Semi Ku­natani and the core team members who claimed victory in the Hamil­ton and Vancouver 7s tournaments.

Speaking to the Fiji Sun during the Fiji Bitter Marist Sevens tourna­ment yesterday Baber said the pres­ence of Kunatani would boost the morale of the younger players.

“The reason why he (Kunatani) was chosen is because of the way he handles the backs, forwards, the game and he has the skills to do that,” Baber said.

“Kunatani has indicated his availa­bility and has now been released by his French Top 14 club, Toulouse. He is very much skilled in sevens rugby and I need everything I can get for the Commonwealth Games.”

Viriviri, the Dratabu native, is the 13th player and he is to cover the rover and wing position.

Baber said: “I have been looking for rov­ers for a number of months with good defence skills as well and it is also good to see that he is back in. The reasons why others are chosen is that they have per­formed well in the last leg of the series.”

Baber also clarified that there were like­ly to be changes, but only subject to any injuries sustained during the training preparations for the Games.

“Competition for places in the team was intense as the players fought hard to prove their worth for a spot,” he said.

“In order to achieve our goal, which is to win the gold medal, I have had to select the best players to represent Fiji.

“We expect competition to be tough at the Commonwealth Games and will en­sure that we leave no stones unturned in our preparation to ensure that the boys are physically, mentally and spiritually ready.”

Baber noted that the players understood the huge challenge ahead of them and has asked all Fijians to support the team.

“We thank you for your moral support and your prayers in the past which we greatly value.”

Speedster Alasio Naduva was almost speechless when learned that he was se­lected in the 13-member squad for the Commonwealth Games.

“Firstly, I want to thank the Lord for his blessing in my life to be part of the Com­monwealth Games and I want thank the coach for believing in me. Also to my fam­ily for supporting me especially my par­ents and uncles Sekaia Ragata and Atu­naisa. To all my Army team-mates and I will give my best for Fiji and try to bring Fiji’s first Commonwealth Games gold medal,” he said.

Fiji Rugby Union’s (FRU) chief executive officer, John O’Connor, has challenged the team to mirror and repeat the feat of the 2016 Rio Olympics and be the first team to bring home the Commonwealth Games men’s 7s rugby gold medal and create his­tory.

“I would like to congratulate all the play­ers who have been selected, but I would like to stress that there is a huge expecta­tion from everyone,” Mr O’Connor said.

“The expectation from the FRU presi­dent, the FRU board of directors, the FRU council and the Fiji Rugby supporters are that the team will create history and win the gold medal at the Commonwealth Games.”

Fiji will be making a return to the Com­monwealth Games men’s rugby sevens tournament after a 12-year absence.

Baber will name his team to Hong Kong by Thursday.

The 2018 Commonwealth Games 7s will be held from April 13-15 when Fiji will face off against Wales, Uganda and Sri Lanka.

Edited by Percy Kean

Feedback: nacanieli.tuilevuka@fijisun.com.fj

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