Now Or Never, Baber’s Warning

Local based 7s players told to lift their performance if they want to play at this year’s Olympic Games. 
24 Jan 2020 11:40
Now Or Never, Baber’s Warning
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s head coach Gareth Baber monitors the players during their training run at the Fraser Tech Rugby Club ground in Hamilton, New Zealand on January 22, 2020. Photo: Bruce Southwick/ Zoom Fiji

Players in the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team will have to prove themselves if they are to play in this year’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan.

The warning came from head coach Gareth Baber who indicated that no player in the current squad has been guaranteed a spot.

“I’m not going to say all players will be selected, but there are players that we have injured back in Fiji, who have potential and also those from overseas,” he told SUNsports from Hamilton, New Zealand.

“We’ve reiterated to the squad that when we are together they are in a privileged position to be able to play for Fiji.

“Nothing is guaranteed in the future, but they have to prove time and time again that they have the ability.”

Baber added that over the last three years he has built trust amongst the players in order to put into practice their game plan.

“We have gone through periods with players who you trust to put into practice your plans and to see if they are doing that regularly,” he added.

“Players who show the right behaviour.

“We’re looking for players that show class.

“To play at this level and the good thing about it, is that you get great tested in the upcoming tournaments and get to learn a lot about these players.”

Baber said the players have a chance but competition for spots in the team to the Olympics would be tough.

He indicated that there is an ongoing dialogue with overseas clubs to release some of our players.

Baber is hoping to have some of the overseas-based players coming in to play in the upcoming tournaments.

“Clubs in Europe are going through their season and so release of players is going to be a little difficult.

“The issue with overseas players is that I don’t have a contract for them, they have their contract with their clubs and the clubs have no obligations in releasing them for the series.

“Ultimately I would like to see them playing in tournaments, we do not want to mention what those tournaments are because people get over excited.”

This year’s Olympic Games is from July 24- August 9.

It is understood that overseas based players like Semi Radradra, Josua Tuisova, Semi Kunatani, Viliame Mata, Eroni Sau, Waisea Nayacalevu, Masivesi Dakuwaqa,   have been considered.

Meanwhile, the team officials presented their traitional sevusevu to the Fijian community in Hamilton on Wednesday night.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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