Analysis | SPORTS

Leone Cabenatabua: Coaches Put To The Test

With the 2020 Olympic Games around the corner, all coaches will be eyeing a win in Dubai, to set them on track for the 2019/20 World Sevens Series.
05 Dec 2019 18:11
Leone Cabenatabua: Coaches Put To The Test
Fiji's Gareth Baber, Australia's Tim Walsh, Kenya's Paul Feeney and New Zealand's Clark Laidlow.

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber is not going to find things easy in Dubai this weekend.

Who said it’s going to be easy anyway?

With the 2020 Olympic Games around the corner, all coaches will be eyeing a win in Dubai, to set them on track for the 2019/20 World Sevens Series.

A good finish will be a morale booster for them going into the Tokyo Olympics.

Baber wants a win in Dubai to set things in motion but however there are other coaches who are determined to spoil our day.

Let’s take a look at the coaches who are very much capable of doing that.

1. Tim Walsh(Australia)

Let’s not forget he is the only coach in the series who knows what it takes to win a gold medal at the Olympics. Walsh coached the Australian Women’s 7s team that won in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2016.

He has been building up the men’s team ever since he took over two years ago. The Aussies were on fire in last month’s Oceania tournament where they walloped the Fijians 22-7 in front of their fans in Suva.

Australia’s Tim Walsh.

Australia’s Tim Walsh.

2. Paul Feeney (Kenya)

This Kiwi was one of the think tanks when Wayne Pivac coached Fiji to win the 2005 Rugby Sevens World Cup in Hong Kong.

Feeney was the unsung hero as worked on team’s stats and also the oppositions. As a smart tactician, they were able to send in the subs that not only saw them lift the tempo of the game but also exploited the loopholes in the opposition’s defence as well.

Kenya’s Paul Feeney.

Kenya’s Paul Feeney.

Feeney is making his debut in the Series with the Kenyans and he’ll surely want to make his mark. Watch him!

3. Clark Laidlaw (NZ)

The Kiwis were the first to arrive in Dubai as they are taking the Series opener very seriously.

After a poor show at the Oceania 7s, Laidlaw said they are specifically targeting which tournaments to win as their main focus is on the Olympic gold.

New Zealand’s Clark Laidlaw.

New Zealand’s Clark Laidlaw.

4. Neil Powell (RSA)

For the past two seasons, he has added depth to the team. Now Powell has recalled veterans Seabelo Senatla and Rosko Specman to beef up his team with the hope that they get back their winning ways.

Dubai is where he wants to get things rolling. Don’t count him out.

South Africa’s Neil Powell.

South Africa’s Neil Powell.

Edited by Osea Bola

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj

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