Baber’s Plan

Young players to show quality when under pressure and ability to play in several  positions.
03 Jun 2020 16:02
Baber’s Plan
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s forwards Asaeli Tuivuaka delivers a pass while Sevuloni Mocenacagi closes in during training in London on May 19, 2019. Photo: World Rugby

Don’t be surprised if new players are playing for the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team in the remaining tournaments of the 2019/20 HSBC World Sevens Series.

With the Tokyo Olympic Games moved to July 23- August 8, next year, the onus is on head coach Gareth Baber to work on his combination.

Baber said the COVID-19 lockdown period gave members of the extended training squad time to train and prove their worth.

“There are some young men who have been developed here and are playing well for the Warriors, Drua, Latui and the Under-20 teams,” he said.

“These are quality players like young Epeli Namuamua (Momo). The other one I had spoken to is Kitione Salawa (Jnr) and Anasa Qaranivalu.”

Baber said the deferment of the Olympic Games had given him the chance to work with the young players and gave them the much-needed exposure.

“Some of these players have a chance to push themselves for selection. So what I want to see is the quality in them when put under pressure in the sevens environment.”

The Welshman has also set his sights on players that can play in more than one position.

“There is always potential for someone like Livai Ikanikoda, who is blessed with the fact that he can play in several positions in the backs and also I’ve seen him playing in the forwards for Police.

“It’s something that we have used in our squad as well during training and potentially at international tournaments but we’ve got some very good forwards.”

The return of senior players Kalione Nasoko and captain, Paula Dranisinukula from injury is a big lift to the squad as they would provide competition to the young players.

“Meli Derenalgi, Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Asaeli Tuivuaka, Josua Vakuranabili, the Tabu brothers, Apenisa Cakaubalavu and Suliano Volivoli are the other forwards in the squad.

“We’ve good depth in our forwards,” he added.

The series gets underway in Singapore on October 10-11 and followed by the Hong Kong tournament from October 16-18.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

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