Baber: Time To Rest, Reconnect

Speaking in an interview, Baber says the break from the World Sevens Series was the best time for them to recover and reconnect with their families and society.
25 Apr 2020 12:55
Baber: Time To Rest, Reconnect
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber during a school visit programme before the Canada Sevens tournament in Vancouver in March, this year. Players (left-right) Waisea Nacuqu, Vilimoni Botitu, Josua Vakurinabili and Alasio Naduva. Photo: FRU Media

Watching the sevens rugby players off the rugby field after some time may be unusual, but Fiji Airways Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber is grateful for the community work they’ve been involved in.

Speaking in an interview, Baber says the break from the World Sevens Series was the best time for them to recover and reconnect with their families and society.

While most of the players are in the security forces, their work has been crucial to combat COVID–19 followed by the Tropical Cyclone Harold operations.

The players involved are captain Meli Derenalagi, Aminiasi Tuimaba, Suliano Volivoli, Paula Dranisinukula, Livai Ikanikoda and Alasio Naduva.

“Obviously it’s a strange period for everybody, but not the least when you’re an international athlete as well,” Baber said.

“So finding the opportunities here and being immensely proud of the work that the boys are involved in,” he said.

“You build strong bonds with these individuals but my bond is very much around seeing them develop as young men and obviously in the rugby environment.

“To see them being able to step outside of that and be responsible and caring for the community and putting the work in.”

Baber said everyone is finding life difficult at the moment but obviously at some stage for them they’ll need to recommence.

“We wanted to make sure that’s the place we need to be to take on the world.”


The postponement of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games and the remaining tournaments in the 2019/20 Series has resulted in a change of plan.

Training and other sporting activities are restricted as the world is faced with the COVID–19 pandemic.

“It’s a bit of moving at the moment so you start doing your plans and you’re waiting for what might come and you might have to make changes in the systems.

“Our plan was going into the Olympics, this year and now it’s pushed back by one year so it gives a sort of 15 or 16 months to go into it and you change your plans according to that.

“So really yes, we’re looking at the beginning of September as the first of those tournaments that we’re going to be playing in, the likes of London and Paris with Hong Kong and Singapore to follow in October.”

Baber said there is a lot of planning being done by his coaching staff Naca Cawanibuka and Brad Harris, in making sure that the players are going to be ready just for this season and the next season and obviously for the Olympics to follow.

“Everyone knows that recovery is not just physical, it’s mental as well, he said.

“We travel the world so we spend a lot of time away from the family and I know that can be difficult for all of us, at least for myself.

“You know spending time with your family is probably the best healer and spending time back in the community that you love is important.

“Obviously there is a danger of not doing the work they have done for a period of time, so it’s called detraining.

“We know an element of detraining in this period, but we’re quite confident to know the planning these boys need to do.

“We know the levels they got to be at to play at the series and to win a gold medal at the Olympics.

“So we have pretty much planned around what we need to do coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic and what we need to do to get back on winning the series.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua


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