Big Test For Locals: Baber

The team is led by the other Olympian Seremaia ‘Jerry’ Tuwai.
21 Jun 2021 14:38
Big Test For Locals: Baber
Members of the Fijian 7s team in Australia. Photo: FRU Media

A lot can change in half a decade since Fiji won the gold medal at the Rio Olympics five years ago.

With only two members of that champion team surviving, new faces have risen to the challenge for the Gareth Baber-coached side.

The team is bolstered with the return of former captain Kalione Nasoko, who was twice named to the World Series Dream Team, as well as Olympic gold medalist Kitione Taliga who returns after a four-year hiatus.

The team is led by the other Olympian Seremaia ‘Jerry’ Tuwai.

The Fiji 7s team has exciting young talent coming through in the form of Meli Derenalagi and Napolioni Bolaca, who have both been selected to the World Series Dream Team in the past two seasons.

Baber has selected seven uncapped players in his side, rewarding their domestic performances and given them a chance to stake their claim against international competition.

“The new players named in the squad have done exceptionally well in Fiji and have won a spot in the team because of their behaviour and performance during training sessions.

“Now the big test for them is to go-up against players they don’t know and face a different style of rugby in both defence and attack, and track themselves progressively,” said Baber.

Fiji has an excellent record against Australia, having lost only three matches against the Aussies in five seasons.

New Zealand slightly edges the Fijians on the all-time head-to-head, but since their loss to the Kiwis in the final at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth

Games, Fiji have gone on to beat them in two out of every three games.

Having not played internationally in over 15 months, the Oceania Sevens presents the perfect opportunity to prepare for their title defence. But they won’t let preparation get in the way of winning.


Kalione Nasoko, Josua Vakurinabili, Meli Derenalagi, Kavekini Tabu, Iosefo Masikau, Asaeli Tuivuaka, Joseva Talacolo, Taniela Sadrugu, Rusiate Nasove, Jerry Tuwai ©, Livai Ikanikoda, Napolioni Bolaca, Waisea Nacuqu, Jiuta Wainiqolo, Kaminieli Rasaku, Sireli Maqala, Kitione Taliga, Alasio Naduva.


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