The Fiji men’s sevens team is hoping to burst out of the blocks in this weekend’s opening round of the World Series in Dubai.
The Olympic sevens champions were pipped to the overall title by South Africa last season, despite winning five of the ten tournaments, including four in a row.
Fiji last won the opening round of the season in 2015 and coach Gareth Baber says they need to make a better start than they did last year.
“In Dubai (last year) we got to the semi finals but in South Africa (the following week) we didn’t and if we look at the season as a whole it’s possibly one or two of those performances that meant that we didn’t actually walk away with the HSBC Series so we’re very mindful of what level we have to come in at,” he said.
After finishing last season without any silverware, Gareth Baber said it was important the players don’t forget the success they did have and the work they did to achieve it.
“You’ve got to be very careful as a team (and) as a coaching staff that because you start to get to a point where you’ve got to finish things of you can feel the finish line that you don’t suddenly change the way that you are as people and do something different,” he said.
“We did some fantastic stuff last year – most notably the number of tournaments we won- but also the way we got some continuity in our game but we don’t have a right for that to be the case all the time and it’s for players learning to understand critical points in critical games to ensure that you can get across the finish line doing the things that you always do.
“It doesn’t take a special act to get that done and I think that a number of people see it like that sometimes – you’ve got to do something different – and very much from my perspective is ensuring the players stay consistent, stay consistent with their behaviours but recognise as they grow and develop as international rugby players.”
Kalione Nasoko will captain Fiji in the first two tournaments of the new season, with Paula Dranisinikula still injured.
Beniamino Vota, Filimoni Tuimaba and Vilimoni Botitu will make their World Series debut tonight in Fiji’s opening match against France, with Scotland and Kenya also in the same pool.