Rugby | SPORTS

Gollings Understands Hong Kong Expectations

Fiji Airways Fijian men’s sevens coach Ben Golliings believes there is a huge amount of pres­sure on his players to perform and de­fend the Hong Kong 7s title for the sixth consecutive year.
31 Oct 2022 12:29
Gollings Understands Hong Kong Expectations
Fiji Airways Fijian men’s sevens players (from left) Ioane Teba, Manueli Maisamoa, Waisea Nacuqu (captain), Tira Welagi with fans at Nadi International Airport on October 30, 2022. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Fiji Airways Fijian men’s sevens coach Ben Golliings believes there is a huge amount of pres­sure on his players to perform and de­fend the Hong Kong 7s title for the sixth consecutive year.

Fiji has won the tournament title 19 times since the tournament begun in 1976. For now Fiji has been winning the title since 2015.

Gollings recounted his love affair with the tournament, which has been a favourite hunting ground for England since 2002 before Fiji spoiled their party in winning the 2005 Rugby World Cup Sevens there.

“Last time Fiji played, they broke the England record of four years in a row,” he said.

“They matched it but last time they got five in a row. So we go in there as five times champions- five in a row, which means there’s a pressure and ex­pectation for us to make that six, which is our focus right now.

“It’s funny for me because obviously I have been an Englishman. I had some glory years there,” he said.

“I have experienced how Hong Kong is for us as English but also that I also saw how big it was for Fiji.

“Now as the head coach of Fiji and go­ing into this tournament, I know full well what this tournament means.”

Fiji Airways Fijian men’s sevens reps (from left) Jerry Matana, Ioane Teba, Tira Welagi, Josevani Soro at Nadi International Airport on October 30, 2022. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Fiji Airways Fijian men’s sevens reps (from left) Jerry Matana, Ioane Teba, Tira Welagi, Josevani Soro at Nadi International Airport on October 30, 2022. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

Gollings added that it has been really interesting for them after they had suc­cess with the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town, South Africa.

Now with the Hong Kong tournament in November instead of March or April, Gollings says, it has not given them time to start building towards the sea­son.

“It’s been disruptive, but we have man­aged to get together. We have worked to­gether now and built on what we were doing throughout our season.”

Gollings added that he needs to look at the fitness, physical and mental re­quirements.

“We take that into Hong Kong. It’s a huge tournament to start any series. At the end of the day, we really have not had enough time off to have a huge ef­fect on fitness levels,” he said.

“It’s really important that everybody has downtime and time away from the game.

“A mental switch off more than any­thing because mentally we have been on, on and on.

“That’s the most important bit and it doesn’t take long to fix any loss in fitness. “We have developed that and just worked on our spark and getting sharp again ready for competition.”

Feedbacks: waisean@fijisun.com.fj



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