SPORTS

Win Or Die

Josateki Savou has been there, done it. Since his debut as a player in 1994, he has been through the mill, being involved in the planning in winning the Melrose
14 Jul 2018 09:26
Win Or Die
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forward and Olympian Leone Nakarawa (left) signs autographs with kids of Pioneer Rugby Foundation in Utah. Photo: Pioneer Rugby Foundation

Josateki Savou has been there, done it.

Since his debut as a player in 1994, he has been through the mill, being involved in the planning in winning the Melrose Cup at the 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens in Hong Kong.

Even though much has changed in the dynamics of rugby’s short code in 13 years, Savou sees similarities in the then Wayne Pivac–coached side and Gareth Baber’s men now camping in Park City, Salt Lake City, Utah.

Together with Paul Feeney and manager Malakai Finau, he was assistant coach to Pivac who put to­gether a team in a short time.

“We chose players who were not only game breakers but primed for the big stage,”Savou said.

“We have a similar situation now and it’s up to Baber how he plays his cards.

“In the forwards we have Leone Nakarawa, Semi Kunatani, Jasa Veremalua, Paula Dranisinukula and Kalione Nasoko.

“With our elusive backline, it will hard to stop and I’m confident they will bring the Melrose Cup home.

“With the inclusion of Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova we have the manpower to keep every­one guessing.”

Although we have the firepower to deliver the result, Savou throw cau­tion to the wind on the innovative format which will test teams to the core.

“It’s a win or die and error count should be minimal,”Savou said. Since the World Sevens Series was incepted in 1999, the 2018 RWCS is a tournament like no other.

It’s designed in such a way that you either win or die as every match counts.

Unlike the Rio Olympics or the World Seven Series, it offers no second chance and every game is a must-win or early homecoming for the losers.

It’s a tournament where teams play so little game time in quest for 7s stardom-in this case the famous Melrose Cup.

Being the second seeded team, our Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team are among the eight teams who will only play four games in the three-day tournament.

In our case we will play the win­ner from the elimination between Japan and Uruguay before we play the quarterfinal, semifinal and fi­nal.

Another challenge is not knowing who they will face in their opening match and during the tournament.

But Savou is optimistic that Baber has the firepower to keep all cyl­inders firing at AT & T Park next weekend.

Edited by Anasilini Natoga

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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