SPORTS

Baber set plans for NZ, Sydney

Defence and gathering re­starts are two key areas the Gareth Baber-coached Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team will work on as it prepares for the Sydney and Hamilton 7s tournaments. These
02 Jan 2019 10:34
Baber set plans for NZ, Sydney
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber(fourth from right) and Fiji Airways Fijian 7s captain Kalione Nasoko(second from left) with fans at the Nadi International Airport. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Defence and gathering re­starts are two key areas the Gareth Baber-coached Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team will work on as it prepares for the Sydney and Hamilton 7s tournaments.

These were the two areas identi­fied by Baber as stumbling blocks for the Fijian 7s side in the two pre­vious tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town, which Fiji won.

As well, the Welshman is looking at improving key decision making within the playing group as Fiji bids to win the World Sevens Series this year or end up in the top four.

Finishing in the top four in the series ensures automatic qualifica­tion for the Olympic Games in 2020 in Japan.

Baber said the team would not rest on its laurels as it looked forward to conqueror the next legs of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Fiji is defending champion at the Hamilton 7s, which is the third stop of the series on January 26-27.

Fiji tops its pool in Hamilton alongside Australia, Argentina and Wales.

Baber said, “The key areas that we need to look at. I thought the de­fence got better as we got through the tournaments certainly on day two in Cape Town where we met the likes of Spain and South Africa and obviously US in the final.

“They are some of the stuff that I’ve looked through, some of the players are aggressive in our de­fence.

“ On the restart we got to continue working on opposition teams. They get better at receiving the balls they stop you from getting it.”

Fiji has appeared in nine finals in the New Zealand leg since its tour­nament debut in 2000 and only won on four occasions, in 2000, 2006, 2010 and 2018.

Record of tries scored and games won

The Kalione Nasoko-captained Fiji team has a good record of scor­ing tries. They lost only one match so far in the Series.

“We scored the most tries in the tournaments. Our defence was solid and we created pressure in the game when we did not have the ball,” Baber added.

“I think the only thing that was missing during the US game was thinking the game through a little bit in terms of some key decisions that were happening and the way that we built our game. I’m confi­dent that we get all those right in­Hamilton and Australia.

Baber earlier told this newspaper that he was content at the begin­ning of the season in tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town.

“That is the top record that will go with us and that is the consistency that I want, but we lost one game in Dubai which dropped us down the line.”

Fiji is on third place with 35 points behind USA (38 points) and New Zealand (37 points) in the Series standing.

The team march into camp in Suva today.

Meanwhile, in 2019 the New Zea­land Sevens tournament will add an invitational competition for women’s teams. From 2020, it plans to host a fully-integrated men’s and women’s tournament at Hamilton’s Waikato Stadium.

Edited by Epineri Vula

Feedback: waisean@fijisun.com.fj

Fijisun E-edition
Total Excellium
Subscribe-to-Newspaper
Fiji Sun Instagram
Subscribe-to-Newspaper