Rugby

FRU Unveils ‘Super 7s Series’

“We expect another three sevens tournament, which will be similar to HSBC, where we will award points and in the final tournament, the team that has the most points will be awarded the winner of the series.
15 Dec 2020 14:22
FRU Unveils ‘Super 7s Series’
Napolioni Bolaca (right) in action during the Uluinakau 7s, at Ratu Cakobau Park, Nausori on December 12, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar

Fijian 7s head coach, Gareth Baber, is happy with Fiji Rugby Union’s introduction of its ‘Super 7s Series’.

The four tournament Series is set to start from  January 22-23, next year. It will be feature the top 16 men’s clubs and four women’s club in the country.

And the 18 contracted players in the national sevens extended training squad members will be playing for their respective clubs.

Baber said this was great to see the potential of local players in preparing for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games.

He said this would give them more game time as the first leg of the World Rugby HSBC series has been cancelled.

“Let’s get stuff done here, let us make it as powerful as it can be for Fiji,” Baber said.

“I want the world to see what sevens rugby can be produced in Fiji.

“And the bonus and icing on the cake is potentially getting those fifteens players.

“But from what I saw in the weekend at the Uluinakau 7s, I saw two international teams going against each other.

“I’m not going to have the control of bringing over fifteens players from overseas at the moment. I’m saying for us here in Fiji, let’s go and see what we can do and produce from Fiji.

“For overseas 15s players, it will be largely dependent on their clubs. I know that there will be a lot of pressure on them because they are not being able to get their money in.”

Baber indicated that sevens rugby was a big part of Fiji as a nation and will continue to drive it in the right path to defend the Olympic gold.

“I need to get right on top of that and potentially looking how I can take best players in rugby that will be playing against each other in the series and tournaments.

“It is no secret that core conditioning for a reason, when you play these tournaments you condition yourself to play these tournaments.

“And to see how players can play tournaments after tournaments and I can see the consistency and of performance and the level of quality those players have putting over time.”

The national training squad will also be playing in as the two national sides in future tournaments.

“Players will be playing in their clubs and will also have players playing in the two teams,” Baber said.

“Because obviously, they spend time with us, we coach them in a certain way, we get them to do and target things in tournaments. It’s important for the combination in the field when they get the opportunity to do it.

“But we also see a huge value for them playing for their clubs as well.

“There is going to come a point where I’ll need to put the players in the two teams, to get that rhythm, to get that quality, and condition. I’m sort of doing both at the moment.”

The players played for their respective clubs during the Fiji Bitter Wairiki 7s in Taveuni and they played in the two teams at last week’s Kombat Uluinakau 7s.

“I challenged them before we went out; let’s see exactly how fast we can play this game, what quality we can play at. That’s really what I want to see and all that matters.”

FRU chief executive officer, John O’Connor added that the series will be a replicate of the HSBC seven’s series.

“One of the important aspects to the Olympics preparation is the HSBC seven’s series and World Rugby, as you know, announced that this year all the series will cancelled and likewise for the first series next year.

“But we need that preparation game time, so Fiji Rugby Union, intends to hold the said sevens tournament. It will be a series of four.

“We will run two day tournament to give the players the opportunity to play in an environment.

“We expect another three sevens tournament, which will be similar to HSBC, where we will award points and in the final tournament, the team that has the most points will be awarded the winner of the series.

“We have confirmed the first dates to be Jan 22nd and 23rd, 2021 and we will release the 16 teams that we will invite in the next few days.

“We will monitor the sevens tournament that are going on and identify the top 16 teams.

“We want to bring the top 16 teams together so that there is tough competition right from the pools.”

Some of the teams that will be likely to be confirmed are Tabadamu, Ratu Filise, Taveuni, Army and Police.

FRU are still having discussions with sponsors for this seven’s series.

“In the next few days or weeks, we will be announcing the sponsors for the series,” O’Conner said.

“And if there are interested sponsors they can contact us but we are talking to a few sponsors at the moment. Few decisions and discussions are going on now.

“Playing in tournaments is something  important for coach, in trying to gauge the team to the Olympics.

“Top quality club teams playing against each other, is a great advantage for us as we have a great asset in talented players.”

 


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