Sunvoice

Baber’s Braves Did it, Pearls, Flying Fijians Can Also Beat World

We have the coaching manpower to enable them to do it. It’s a matter of doing the hard yards and getting it right on game day beating the world like Baber’s Braves.
10 Jun 2019 13:47
Baber’s Braves Did it, Pearls, Flying Fijians Can Also Beat World
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber is greeted by his wife at Nadi International Airport on June 5, 2019. Photo; Waisea Nasokia

Editorial:

Coach Gareth Baber and the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team have set the platform for other teams to emulate or do better.

Winning the 2018-19 World Sevens Series in such a clinical fashion, after missing out last year, shows we can compete and beat the best in the world.

It’s not easy to win five out of 10 tournaments in the series for two years in a row, but that’s what Baber and his gallant men have achieved.

While we are on track in defending the series, which starts later this year and the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics next year, the achievements should act as an inspiration for our other national teams.

Our Team Fiji will be competing at the 2019 Pacific Games in Samoa next month and they need to be in top form to compete, instead of just making up the numbers.

Pearls Camp in Brisbane

But being a World Cup year, the major focus will be on the Fijian Pearls and the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians.

Preparing for the Netball World Cup on July 12-21 in Liverpool, England, the Vicki Wilson-coached side shifted camp to Brisbane where they are going through three weeks intensive training.

Wilson believes a different environment will put the players in good stead where they could properly fine tune and monitor training, diet, behaviour and performance.

For so long the NWC has been dominated by bigger nations such as New Zealand, Australia and England and Wilson feels it’s time for an island nation like Fiji to rise to the occasion and provide the challenge.

Wilson said:” It’s something we try as much as we can to bridge the gap, we need to be realistic on what we are going to come up against.”

McKee Coaching Party

Likewise, Fiji Airways Flying Fijians head coach John McKee is doing the hard yards in putting everything in place before the Rugby World Cup kicks off in September.

Apart from naming the squad to prepare for the six build-up matches, McKee yesterday named an experienced coaching set-up to take the team through the Pacific Test Series, Pacific Nations Cup and the RWC.

McKee has pulled in the services of 2015 Flying Fijians assistant coach Tabai Matson with Neil Barnes and Alan Muir for on field training with Damian Marsh as Head of Athletic Performance plus John Pryor as Head of Strength and Conditioning.

Barnes previously worked with Canada at the 2011 RWC while Pryor was a member of the Japan coaching team under Eddie Jones at the 2015 RWC.

McKee said: “These coaches have the knowledge and alignment to take the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians forward and to help ensure this will be the best prepared Fijian team to travel to a Rugby World Cup.”

The Pearls and the Flying Fijians can rise above their attainment levels in previous world cups.

We have the coaching manpower to enable them to do it. It’s a matter of doing the hard yards and getting it right on game day beating the world like Baber’s Braves.

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