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Testing 7s Depth

Defending the Hamilton Sev­ens in the third tournament of the 2018/19 World Sevens Series in two weeks will be another solid test for the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team. Coach
11 Jan 2019 10:39
Testing 7s Depth
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s reps Vatemo Ravouvou (left) and Amenoni Nasilasila during the 2017/18 HSBC World Sevens Series. Photo: Fiji Rugby

Defending the Hamilton Sev­ens in the third tournament of the 2018/19 World Sevens Series in two weeks will be another solid test for the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team.

Coach Gareth Baber will be with­out key players for the January 26-27 tournament, most notable of which are Amenoni Nasilasila, Paula Dranisinukula and probably Vatemo Ravouvou.

And this is a perfect platform for the Welshmen to test the depth of the players in his squad, a good omen moving forward.

Nasilasila has been suspended by the Fiji Rugby Union after he ap­peared at the Sigatoka Magistrate Court charged with one count of rape early this month.

Dranisinukula declared he would not be fit to take part in the Hamil­ton event but could be available for the Sydney 7s a week later.

Ravouvou has not been training with the squad in Suva in the past two weeks and is in Saunaka, Nadi.

He was reported to be training with the Dratabu team for the Cor­al Coast Sevens next weekend but could not be located during training at Nadi Sangam School yesterday.

Fiji Rugby Union marketing and sponsorship manager Demeltza Fellowes said they have yet to hear from Ravouvou.

“We’ve yet to hear from him on whether he’s going to join camp or not. No update from Vatemo,”Fellowes said.

The three players were instrumen­tal in winning the inaugural Hamil­ton 7s at FMG Stadium last year.

The Fijians staged a dramatic 24-17 comeback victory over South Africa in the Cup final after beating Samoa 12-10 in the quarterfinal and New Zealand 14-12 in the semi-final.

Baber said the players have re­turned with positive mindset after the festive break and continue to work on areas including restarts, momentum, shape and focus.

The 19-member squad will con­tinue training in Suva today. The Fijians are pooled with Australia, Argentina and Wales.

While Baber was upfront about the trying times that lay ahead when he took up the job two year ago, he had pledged to see Fiji win back its championship status.

Baber’s priority at the outset was to rebuild the team, juggle positions and to forge a winning combination and it continues to be work in pro­gress so far. Just as the players have faith in their coach, the coach has an unerring confidence in the core.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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