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Editorial: Why Winning The World Sevens Series Matters This Year

It’s important for our Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team to win the 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series. This will put them on a perfect platform as they gear towards defending
20 Jan 2019 15:11
Editorial: Why Winning The World Sevens Series  Matters  This Year
Fiji Airways 7s team during a training session at Albert park Suva on January 18,2019.Photo:Simione Haravanua.

It’s important for our Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team to win the 2018/19 HSBC World Sevens Series.

This will put them on a perfect platform as they gear towards defending the Olympic Games gold medal at the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

Already, the Gareth Baber-led side have started well by winning the Cape Town 7s tournament in South Africa while a week earlier they came fifth in Dubai.

Now they are third on the 2018/19 Series points table with 35 points behind New Zealand who have 37 while USA lead with 38.

While other countries have opted to maintain the core of their players that played in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil- we’ve decided to do it the other way around and this is probably because of the abundance of talented players that we’ve at our disposal.

That has been the highlight of our performance so far, as we are one of the most inexperienced teams in the Series.

The emergence of Vodafone Fijian Under-20 players of Meli Derenalagi and Vilimoni Botitu along with rookies Aminiasi Tuimaba, Terio Tamani and Apenisa Cakaubalavu, have added depth in our squad.

Now the journey has gone to another level along with the increasing challenges.

Next weekend, it’s the defence of the New Zealand 7s title in Hamilton.

What has made things tougher is the absence of two key playmakers Vatemo Ravouvou and Amenoni Nasilasila.

But it has opened up the door for Waisea Nacuqu and Tamani to show what they are capable of in front of thousands of fans that will converge at the FMG Stadium in Waikato.

The pressure is definitely on but Baber is confident that his 13-member squad of captain Kalione Nasoko, Paula Dranisinukula, Josua Vakurinabili, Mesulame Kunavula, Cakaubalavu, Derenalagi, Seremaia Tuwai, Nacuqu, Tuimaba, Tamani, Alasio Naduva, Botitu and Sevuloni Mocenacagi have what it takes to win the Hamilton and Sydney (February 1-3) tournaments. Nothing is impossible if only they play their cards right from the start.

They need to be consistent and maintain that winning run from Cape Town and also create that winning culture within the team.

The last series taught us a valuable lesson of how we left things right to the last tournament, where we just fell apart.    

The focus now is to take an early lead on the 2018/19 points table, build on it and work our way towards hoisting the series title and also putting our Olympic Games campaign on track.

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj




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