Sunvoice

Editorial: Shake-Up 7s, Win Long Overdue

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber will need to shake things up from the start before the World Sevens Series kicks off in No­vember. The new season is im­portant
23 Sep 2018 12:35
Editorial: Shake-Up 7s, Win Long Overdue
Gareth Baber

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber will need to shake things up from the start before the World Sevens Series kicks off in No­vember.

The new season is im­portant for more reasons than one for the 7s team.

23 months on the job, Baber must put in place the right strategies and provide an environment where each player will have the opportunity to perform to their best.

We can only learn from our pitfalls in the past and move forward.

And in doing that, we must improve our per­formance and start win­ning major competitions on the global circuit.

It is unfortunate that the last time we won a major sevens compe­tition was four years ago during the 2016 Rio Olympics.

This is quite unbecom­ing but it truly reflected how we fared and pro­gressed over the years.

It shows that being consistent continues to be our major letdown.

We came close during the 2017-18 season but ended up winning nothing despite the hype and expecta­tions.

Now we are almost coming full circle with the long qualifying process for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics start­ing in November.

Only the top four teams from the series qualify di­rectly for the four-yearly event in Tokyo.

If we don’t then we will have to win either the Oce­ania regional qualifying tournament or a repechage to secure a spot at the Games.

With just 12 spots available – and one of those guar­anteed for the host-nation Japan – there isn’t any room for leaving it too late.

It is most pleasing therefore that preparation by the extended 7s squad has already began in earnest.

Baber doesn’t need to look far and wide for his man­agement staff and players.

We have the players and manpower at the Fiji Rugby Union who could assist him hit full potential.

Fiji Airways Fijiana

The same applies for the Fiji Airways Fijiana squad now under the guidance of interim coach Ro Alivereti Doviverata.

The team also needs to be in the top four to auto­matically qualify for the Tokyo Olympics otherwise it would go through regional qualifying tournaments.

Our women have been merely participants over the years yet to winning a tournament.

This must change when the Women Sevens Series kicks off next month in Colorado, U.S.A. Improving our ranking from 9th would be a perfect and ideal start for our women to build on.

The change in women’s team leadership and think­ing was needed. Doviverata had good credentials. Credit to the Rugby House for making the change.

Winning the 2018-19 World Sevens Series for men would provide a confidence boost for going into the 2020 Olympics.

Winning has been long overdue and it is a challenge for both our men and women.

OSEA BOLA

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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