SPORTS

Our First-Five For Hong Kong?

After our Cup quarterfinal loss to USA in the Sydney Sevens, an SOS call was made by head coach Gareth Baber for Vatemo Ravouvou to join them in Hamilton. Ravouvou,
26 Mar 2018 13:01
Our First-Five For Hong Kong?
Gareth Baber Photo: Waisea Nasokia

After our Cup quarterfinal loss to USA in the Sydney Sevens, an SOS call was made by head coach Gareth Baber for Vatemo Ravouvou to join them in Hamilton.

Ravouvou, who was earlier dropped for disciplinary reasons, had to be rushed to Nadi International Airport to catch the next flight to Auckland. He was desperately needed by the coach, to man the first-five eight position.

 

REQUIREMENTS

This position requires a highly skilful player who passes well off both hands, excellent vision, a decision maker and possess good kicking skills.

After the days of maestro Waisale Serevi there has been no other player who has fitted well into the position like Ravouvou. He was the brains behind our World Sevens Series wins and Olympic Games triumph under former head coach Ben Ryan.

Baber now has two of the most accomplished first five eighths at his disposal.

Our wins in Hamilton and Vancouver show how Baber uses Ravouvou in the starting line-up to exploit the opposition before he unleashes Amenoni Nasilasila to do the damage in the second half.

After the naming of the Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens team to the Commonwealth Games last Saturday, it’s confirmed that Baber will use them to be our trump cards in Gold Coast.

 

WHAT ABOUT HONG KONG?

But the question that arises is who is going to be our go-to-man at the Hong Kong Sevens tournament?

Surely we have got the players but we’ve got to bear in mind that playing in Hong Kong is a different kettle of fish altogether.

To be playing in front of a big crowd with deafening noises happening around them. It’s not a place for rookies or someone who is new to such atmosphere.

That does not include the pressure of facing rivals New Zealand, Samoa and Russia in the pool matches followed by the playoffs.

For our Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team it’s crucial to win the Hong Kong tournament if we are to stand a chance of winning the 2017/18 HSBC World Sevens Series.

Like a good coach, for sure Baber must have someone in place to do the job and for that we will know on Thursday when the Fiji Rugby Union will release the 13-member squad to play in Hong Kong.

As for now, after the Fiji Bitter Marist Sevens tournament a couple of players have stood out and showed that have got what it takes to step into Ravouvou and Nasilasila’s boots.

Two of them have already played in Hong Kong and also have tasted what it’s like to win from there. They are;

 

  • Kitione Taliga (Police) – He is the ideal player for the position. One of our Olympic heroes and he played well for Police Blue during the Marist Sevens tournament. Taliga was replaced in the second half after scoring a try as Police led 12-0 over Tabadamu Blue in Cup final. His absence saw Police lose their momentum and ended up coming out second best.

    Kitione Taliga..

    Kitione Taliga..

  • Emosi Mulevoro (Navy): Played in the winning teams of the 2014/15 and 2015/16 World Sevens Series. Like Taliga, he could fit in well but however he has been hampered by injuries.

    Emosi Mulevoro

    Emosi Mulevoro

  • Tieri Ratini (Tabadamu): He is part of the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s training squad. A promising player but experience is not on his side.
  • Livai Ikanikoda (Police): A former national 7s first-five eight that won the 2011 Gold Coast 7s tournament- the then Australian leg of the World Sevens Series.

So as we countdown to Thursday let‘s  wait and see who is going to be our kingpin in Hong Kong and help get us that historic four-year-in-a-row win-

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

 

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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