Analysis | SPORTS

Naduva To Return In Sydney?

The winger was the thirteenth man at the weekend but could force his way into the team, given his experience and track record as a proven try scorer.
28 Jan 2020 16:55
Naduva To Return In Sydney?
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s winger Alasio Naduva. Photo: AP

Alasio Naduva could – and probably should – return for the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s side at the Australia 7s in Sydney on Saturday.

Head coach Gareth Baber has a week to iron out any issues that surfaced in Hamilton and get the team ready for the fourth tournament of the world circuit.

The winger was the thirteenth man at the weekend but could force his way into the team, given his experience and track record as a proven try scorer.

Bringing him back in the fold would make sense. He would give the team an added option in defence and an equally potent weapon in attack.

Naduva is also one of the most experienced players in the squad with 109 matches under his belt.

He was an important cog in last season’s Series-winning side, with Baber largely using the speedster as an impact player.

The 29-year-old has excelled in the role, injecting pace and trickery to Fiji’s attacking line just as opponents start to tire in the second-half.

He has scored 331 points off the back of those attributes including 65 tries and three conversions, averaging 3.04 points a game.

The team is desperate to bounce back after three tournaments in which they performed below expectations.

Naduva may not have all the answers in Sydney. But his inclusion will almost certainly add tries to Fiji’s improving game.

Another player that could be handed a bigger role in the team is Apenisa Cakaubalavu.

The 6 foot 2 forward featured off the bench in all of Fiji’s four matches in Hamilton, scoring against Australia and putting in a decent shift throughout.

The 26-year-old’s introduction was the difference against Samoa, with his strong hold-up play creating space for Aminiasi Tuimaba to score the winning try.

His rate of return in the World Series has been decent too.

In 48 career matches, the Naroi, Moala, Lau native has scored 72 points from 14 tries and two conversions.

Baber has favoured a front three partnership of Meli Derenalagi, Sevuloni Mocenacagi and Asaeli Tuivuaka.

That could change in Sydney with Cakaubalavu slowly finding his feet and growing

Edited by Simione Haravanua

Feedback: sheldon.chanel@fijisun.com.fj

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