Semi’s Secret 7s Prep

Gareth Baber opts for power, balance and pace,  New bloods Jiuta Wainiqolo, Iosefo Masi get Olympic cut, Two Olympians, three newcomers in Saiasi Fuli’s 13-member team.
05 Jul 2021 16:31
Semi’s Secret 7s Prep
Semi Radradra plays for a Fiji invitational 7s side team during the Super Sevens tournament in Newbury, England, on July 3, 2021. Photo: Ian Muir

Semi Radradra was out playing sevens rugby for an Fijian invitational side in the Newbury leg of the Super Sevens Series in England, last Saturday.

Radradra, who plays for Bristol Bears  has been playing sevens for the past weeks in trying to adapt to the pace of the game, which is much faster compared to fifteens.

Yesterday, he was named into the 12-member Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens team.

Radradra will fly out of London to Singapore on Thursday where he will join the Fijian 7s teams. Together they’ll fly to Narita.

The Fiji Rugby Union has confirmed  the men’s and women’s teams to play at the Olympic Games in Tokyo Japan from July 23 to August 8.

Fijian men’s coach Gareth Baber said: “The Olympic Games is a one off event and I believe the biggest challenge is the fact that we haven’t had the time to get the rhythm and flow associated with playing in the World Rugby Sevens Series,” he said.

“Therefore, the Oceania tournament became an important opportunity for those players who have less experience as well as those who have returned from Europe to show the quality which I look for.

The men’s team is laced with experience, with 2016 Olympic Games gold medalist Seremaia ‘Jerry’ Tuwai will lead the pack.

Kalione Nasoko, Josua Vakurinabili Meli Derenalagi and Asaeli Tuivuaka will provide power upfront while Waisea Nacuqu, Napolioni Ratu together with Aminiasi Tuimaba and Vilimoni Botitu will showcase the magic in the backline.

Jiuta Wainiqolo and Iosefo Masi who put up an impressive show during the Oceania 7s have also made the cut.

England-based utility Semi Radradra is also in the mix and joins the team next week in Japan.

“I’m really excited in what the group brings, it’s a balance between the power which is a big part of our game, and the pace that we are able to put into it,.

“We continue to look to command the aerial battles on the field as well as developing our strength at set-piece.

“We have built the team and the capabilities around putting pressure on our opponents and as a result, there has been a balance in the selection of the squad to reflect this.”

Baber added Radradra has been training in England and is confident he will pick up the momentum once they meet and begin preparation in Japan.

“I know him as an individual, an athlete and he keeps himself in a supreme condition which is why he always wins the battle.

“He is blessed to have the skill level of a 7s player even though he predominantly plays 15s and has done remarkable work for us when he played for us either in 7s or 15s code” said Baber.

He also mentioned that the young players in the squad have ticked all the boxes for selection during the training camps in Fiji, Australia and at the Oceania 7s tournament.

“They have done exceptionally well in getting into this group. That’s been on the back of their perseverance, sacrifice not only by them but their families as well.”

The men are in Pool B and will play Great Britain, Canada and Japan, kicking off on July 26.


Buleki, Tisolo injured

Team Fiji Women 7s coach Saiasi Fuli also revealed that selecting his final squad wasn’t that easy especially after the performance of the girls in the historic win over Australia at the Oceania 7s.

“It’s sad to mention that two of our key players Vani Buleki and Luisa Tisolo were not considered due to serious injuries sustained during the tournament” said Fuli.

Despite the setback, Fuli has put together a formidable side that consists of two Olympians in the final 13, captain Rusila Nagasau and Raijieli Daveua.

“We were blessed to play against New Zealand and Australia where I had an opportunity to test the girls and see who all can take up the challenge when needed.”
The women are in Pool B and will come up against Canada, France and Brazil, with competition starting on July 29.



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