Oceania Sevens: Our Forwards Set Pace

Fiji 7s head coach Gareth Baber selected a formidable forward pack that sees the return of some experienced players.
22 Jun 2021 11:53
Oceania Sevens: Our Forwards Set Pace

Last weekend we had a look at our playmakers and our backline players.

Today we look at our forwards heading into the Oceania Sevens tournament and the Olympic Games.

The forwards are considered the engine room of a team, their job is relentless in fighting for territory and possession for 14 minutes of intense rugby.

Fiji 7s head coach Gareth Baber selected a formidable forward pack that sees the return of some experienced players.

This includes Kalione Nasoko who is making his return from ACL surgery, Josua Vakurunabili teaming up with Meli Derenalagi, Kavekini Tabu, Asaeli Tuivuaka, Iosefo Masikau, Taniela Sadrugu, Rusiate Nasove and Joseva Talacolo.

On paper our forwards looks solid but one wonders how will they perform.

The answer is simple…these players have prepared well and are ready to play some for the best players in the world.

Derenalagi, Nasoko, Tabu and Tuivuaka will definitely pave the way for our new boys like Sadrugu, Nasove and Talacolo.

Baber told SUNsports the new boys are showing their intentions in training.

“The new and young players have been improving from time to time,” he said.

“They have been providing and pushing the experienced players to the limit.”

In a nutshell we have the killer instinct that no other forward pack in sevens rugby have.

We have the sevens knowledge, understanding, awareness and top class finishing given any situation.

Now with the Oceania Sevens tournament our forwards have the luxury of time to polish up on their set pieces.

The leadership of Vakarunabili and Nasoko in the pack adds the much needed experience in making sure our scrums, restarts, line outs and ruck plays is executed well.

Teams like Australia and New Zealan would have learnt their lessons and will counter our strategies by denying possession and controlling the tempo of the game.

According to HSBC World Series stats we lead the most tackles of all time ahead of South Africa and New Zealand.

Most offloads of all time ahead with 1909 ahead of France and Scotland.

We are second to New Zealand in restarts with 3563 with South Africa right behind us.

Baber and his troops know the key to retaining the gold medal is good defence, communication, winning restarts and competing and winning turnovers in the rucks.

Forward Play

Fijian players are known for their physical game, fierce tackling ability and try-scoring abilities that blends with top notch offloads.

Let’s play our Fijian flair with a bit more awareness and structured sevens that was introduced by winning Rio 2016 Olympic coach Ben Ryan.

Our boys have the skills and the speed to outclass any opposition and create something out of nothing.

Offloads will be one of biggest weapon with good vision and support play.

Remember our 2005 World Cup winning sevens team, we had players that can play both in the forwards and backs.

Players like Semisi Naevo, Apolosi and Viliame Satala, Ifereimi Rawaqa were unstoppable even though age was a challenge they manage to outclass young players.

Our current forwards can equal or better performance starting with Trans-Tasman rivals in Townsville.


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