Gareth Baber: Three Finals In Pool Play

Fiji has won the last four Hong Kong titles in succession, which makes them favourites for this year’s meet.
29 Mar 2019 10:00
Gareth Baber: Three Finals In Pool Play
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forward Josua Vakurunabili with fans at the Nadi International Airport on March 28, 2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

A lot is at stake for the Gareth Baber-coached Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team at the Hong Kong leg of the World Sevens Se­ries on April 5-7.

Fiji has won the last four Hong Kong titles in succession, which makes them favourites for this year’s meet.

The team left for Hong Kong in high spirits yesterday despite the recent injury setbacks, which have ruled out Kalione Nasoko and Wai­sea Nacuqu.

Coach Baber said Fiji’s opponents in pool play have the quality to be cup finalists, urging his players to stay focussed.

Fiji is pooled with Kenya, Austral­ia and arch-rivals New Zealand.

“We have talked about playing three finals in the pool,” he said.

“Defending the tournament would be huge because it is Hong Kong. There are records are stake.

“But again, I have to keep the play­ers’ minds fully on the job and the roles they have.”

Fiji typically excels in Hong Kong, having won it 18 times since it was founded in 1976.

Discipline, however, remains a concern for Baber.

“Discipline is a lot about the be­haviour of the group, like anyone at the workplace,” Baber said.

“You have to be at the right place at the right time, wearing the right clothes, having the right diet, stay­ing hydrated and resting.

“All those things take a little while for some players to understand, which is a huge part of the prepa­ration process.

“When it comes to training time, making sure that they stay disci­plined in the way they prepare and the way they focus in sessions is important.”

Baber said the way players train is obvious in the way they play.

“And if you come with an attitude to training environment which does not have that focus it will show on the field,” he added.

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team: Josua Vakurunabili, Paula Dranisi­nukula (C), Isoa Tabu, Ratu Meli Derenalagi, Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Apenisa Cakaubalavu, Asaeli Tui­voka, Jerry Tuwai, Terio Temani, Napolioni Ratu, Vilimoni Botitu, Alasio Naduva, Aminiasi Tuimaba and Livai Ikanikoda.

-Edited by Sheldon Chanel


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