Fiji Airways Fiji 7s Head Coach Gareth Baber has named his squad for the opening two rounds of the 2018 /19 HSBC World Sevens Series.
13 players will leave for Dubai this coming Friday and the Coach says the squad are chasing early points to secure a strong start to their season.
“We’ve got a squad with a general mix and balance of experience along side talented individuals who will be making their first appearances in the HSBC series” he said.
“We know securing points early in the season is important and Dubai comes as the first leg where we want to establish ourselves” he said.
Kalione Nasoko will lead the team for the Dubai and Cape Town tournaments with Paula Dranisinikula still recouperating from a leg fracture.
Josua Kurinabili is also unavailable for the first two legs succumbing to an ankle injury he obtained in the Oceania 7s tournament and with two key forwards out of the mix, Baber is looking forward to what the next breed of talent can produce in the white jersey.
“Without having Paula and Josua Kurunabili there is some experience missing in the forwards but I am confident there is potential for one or two others in their place to assert themselves for the future of the Fiji 7s.”
“We have a balance of aerial threats as well as those that can provide power in contact areas around the field.”
Aminoni Nasilasila returns to the squad after missing the Oceania 7s and will add a boost to the back line for Fiji.
“In the backs, combing pace and quality continuity skills is a must and these players are able to read the opposition and create space for each other providing us with the cutting edge required to win such a tournament as Dubai.”
The team travel to Dubai today and will spend the week in camp with a training game against the USA on Tuesday before kicking off the tournament on Friday 30th.
Fiji face France, Scotland and Kenya in the pool games and Baber says the players are in good shape ahead of the series opener.
“The squad has worked hard during the offseason and although we have taken a few injuries of late, we are in good shape.”
“Playing in tournaments here in Fiji has helped the boys get into the rhythm of competition and specifically the body and mind hardening that can only come from be putting under the pressure in game time.”
“This first event in the series will certainly ask questions of the new players and having experienced players alongside them will help.”
Baber will be pleased when the first whistle is blown next Friday and the pursuit of the series title is underway.
“I am looking forward to starting strong, then pushing on this season and ultimately finishing No1 in the World.”
Fiji Airways Men’s 7s Squad for Dubai 7s
1. Mesulame Kunavula
2. Kali Nasoko
3. Apenisa Cakabalvu
4. Beniamino Vota
5. Sevouloni Mocenecagi
6. Ratu Meli Derelagi
7. Jerry Tuwai
8. Waisea Nacugu
9. Vatemo Ravouvou
10. Aminoni Nasilasila
11. Vilimone Botitu
12. Alosio Naduva
13. Filimoni Tuimaba