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Fiji Rugby: Injuries Mount As Hong Kong 7s Looms

The Fijians looked like a team fighting to stay fit against Samoa yesterday, with Baber making immediate precautionary substitutions when Tuimaba and Tamani went down.
11 Mar 2019 10:00
Fiji Rugby: Injuries Mount As Hong Kong 7s Looms
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s rep Sevuloni Mocenacagi in action against Kenya during the Canada 7s in Vancouver on March 10, 2019. Photo: Ian Muir

The injury-hit Fiji Airways Fi­jian 7s team will need their fringe players to step up if the side stands any chance of re­taining the Canada 7s today.

Captain Kalione Nasoko, Vilimoni Botitu, Aminiasi Tuimaba and Ter­io Tamani have all suffered injuries since the start of competition yes­terday, giving coach Gareth Baber an unexpected selection headache.

Botitu’s high work-rate and con­stant running is starting to take its toll, forcing Baber to use the rover sparingly in Vancouver.

He has played 31 times already since making his debut in Dubai last December, behind only Mesu­lame Kunavula (32) and Alasio Na­duva (33).

Forward Meli Derenalagi is in a similar position but has managed to avoid injury so far.

Derenalagi, who has played 28 times this season, will soon be due a rest, meaning players like Paula Dranisinikula and Josua Vaku­runabili could get more chances to impress.

The Fijians looked like a team fighting to stay fit against Samoa yesterday, with Baber making im­mediate precautionary substitu­tions when Tuimaba and Tamani went down.

Fiji Airways Fijian Sevens player Terio Tamani fends off a Samoa player in their final pool match of the Canada Sevens in Vancouver on March 10, 2019. Photo: World Rugby

Fiji Airways Fijian Sevens player Terio Tamani fends off a Samoa player in their final pool match of the Canada Sevens in Vancouver on March 10, 2019. Photo: World Rugby

The Welshman has been terribly unlucky with injuries at this clus­ter of the Series and it has clearly had an impact the team’s strategy.

Seremaia Tuwai was nursing an ankle problem in the lead up to the Canada tournament, but, to the coach’s relief, his injury seems to be holding for now.

Playmaker Waisea Nacuqu is also set for a lengthy spell on the side­lines after suffering a collarbone fracture in Las Vegas.

Nacuqu’s replacements – Botitu and Tamani – have both had injury scares since then.

The injuries have also highlighted the importance of managing game-time and squad depth as the HSBC 2018/2019 World Sevens Series ap­proaches its business end.

Baber’s team has won two out of five tournaments this season, but the depth of his squad faces a stern test in the coming months.

It could be decisive.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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