SPORTS

Road To Tokyo 2020

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber said pointed out that while the Fijians are in preparation mode, the Australians are taking the tournament seriously as they are yet to qualify.
03 Nov 2019 12:21
Road To Tokyo 2020
L-R: Fiji Airways Fijian 7s utility Vilimoni Botitu during training at Albert Park, Suva, on November 1, 2019 and Fiji Airways Fijiana 7s players (left-right) Roela Radiniyavuni, Ana Maria Roqica, Luisa Tisolo, Raijeili Daveua, Merewalesi Rokouono at the Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort, Coral Coast, Sigatoka on November 1, 2019. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Analysis:

The journey to book a spot in next year‘s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan has now intensified.

For the men, the Australians and Samoans have roped in their big guns as they want to finalise everything at the end of the Oceania 7s tournament at the ANZ Stadium, Suva, next weekend.

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber said pointed out that while the Fijians are in preparation mode, the Australians are taking the tournament seriously as they are yet to qualify.

The Samoans under head coach Sir Gordon Tietjens have got in four New Zealand-based players and are determined to make things right after failing to qualify four years ago.

Hardly one to mince his words, Sir Gordon said that they are not here to make the numbers.

The Aussies, under coach Tim Walsh, have secured the services of Wallabies winger Jack Maddocks.

The 22-year-old Melbourne Rebels utility back narrowly missed selection for the Rugby World Cup.

Walsh, who had coached the Australian Women to gold medal victory at the 2016 Olympic Games, has been working with Maddocks since July.

He was flown straight to Munich, Germany, from the Wallabies’ training base in Odawara for his 7s debut, playing five matches in the Oktoberfest7s.

Since then, he has been training with the group as they work towards next weekend’s Olympic qualifying tournament in Suva.

With Fiji and New Zealand already confirmed, the onus is now on Sir Gordon and Walsh to play their cards right during the competition.

This is almost a similar situation in the women’s 7s category where the Fiji Airways Fijiana 7s team must finish on top to confirm their spot for the Olympics.

With Australia and New Zealand already qualified, the Saiasi Fuli-coached side must finish ahead of their Pacific rivals Samoa, Tonga and Papua New Guinea.

They have been strengthened with the inclusion of Australian-based Mereseini Leivere and the switch from former Fijian Bulikula utility Roela Radiniyavuni.

Strength and Conditioning coach Eroni Sotutu is confident that the Fijiana will play according to the plan and deliver the results that we all want.

This is our women’s best chance of qualifying and for rugby fans let’s all be at the ANZ Stadium from Thursday to cheer them on.

Edited by Sheldon Chanel

Feedbackleonec@fijisun.com.fj

 

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