SPORTS

Baber’s Ploy Pays Off

Coach unveils ‘score first’ strategy as they record big wins over Canada,  Blitzboks   Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber’s ploy for them to gain possession and be
28 Jan 2019 10:00
Baber’s Ploy Pays Off
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s winger Aminiasi Tuimaba (with ball) and playmaker Waisea Nacuqu on attack against Canada during the Cup quarterfinal of the New Zealand 7s at the FMG Stadium in Hamilton on January 27, 2019. Photo: Bruce Southwick/ ZoomFiji

Coach unveils ‘score first’ strategy as they record big wins over Canada,  Blitzboks

 

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber’s ploy for them to gain possession and be the first to score was the catalyst behind their 33-7 win over Canada and 29-7 walloping of South Africa in the Cup playoffs.

“What’s next?” Baber asked the players while wrapping up his halftime pep talks.

“Get hold of the ball and be the first to score.”

In the Cup quarterfinal against Canada, the Fijians ran in early tries to 20-year-old prop Meli Derenalagi after combining with rover Filimoni Botitu.

Backed by fans, Aminiasi Tuimaba ran in the second try with Waisea Nacuqu’s conversions making it 14-0. Canada pulled a try back in the 7th minute to Connor Braid and was converted by Nathan Hirayama as they trailed 14-7.

From the kick-off the Fijians regained possession and spun it wide for Nacuqu to score as they led 19-7 at halftime.

It was all Fiji in the second half with Tuimaba getting his second try with veteran prop Josua Vakurinabili scooting over for the final try.

 

NASOKO LEADS BY EXAMPLE

Captain Kalione Nasoko led the charge against South Africa in the Cup semi-final when in the 1st minute he ran through two tackles to score the first try and they never looked back. Then tries came from Tuimaba and Botitu for a 19-0 lead at halftime.

Fiji continued on the onslaught in the second half with tries to Nacuqu and Tuimaba while Selvyn Davids scored a consolation try for the Blitzboks.

In the second semi-final series leaders USA upset favourites and hosts New Zealand 17-7.

A frustrated New Zealand 7s coach Clark Laidlaw said their early exit was “bloody frustrating”.

“A lot of work has gone into the last few weeks and to miss out on playing a final at home is frustrating and disappointing.

“The way we played wasn’t quite what we were hoping for with the way we prepared and that’s on me.

“We certainly didn’t play like we did in other games and I need to have a look at that first before we start looking at the players.”

 

RESULTS 

Challenge Trophy quarters: Argentina 35-0 Japan, Kenya 19-12 Tonga, Spain 19-10 Wales, England 21-5 France; Cup quarters: Fiji 33-7 Canada, South Africa 28-19 Samoa, New Zealand 24-17 Australia, USA 19-14 Scotland; 13th Place SF: Japan 7-31 Tonga, Wales 19-35; Challenge Trophy SF: Argentina 7-24 Kenya, Spain 7-38 England; 5th Pace SF: Samoa 19-28 Samoa; Cup SF: Fiji 29-7 South Africa, New Zealand 7- 17 USA

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– Edited by Osea Bola

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