Fiji’s bid to win the Las Vegas leg of the HSBC World Sevens Series has been give a double boost with wingers Alasio Naduva and Asaeli Tuivoka finally given visas to travel to North America having been left behind when the rest of the squad flew out.
Wing Naduva, the Sevens Series top try scorer with 20, has linked up with head coach Gareth Baber and the rest of the squad while Tuivoka is set to fly out from Fiji having been given clearance to travel.
This is welcome news for Baber who has endured a problematical build up to the Las Vegas tournament which starts on Friday and is followed immediately by the Vancouver leg.
Fiji won back to back tournaments in Cape Town and Hamilton but were disappointed with their performance in Sydney and have been disrupted by off-the-field incidents. Then came the visa troubles which the Fiji Rugby Union have worked hard to eradicate.
John O’Connor, the FRU chief executive, said: “I can confirm that Naduva flew out and has joined the team in Las Vegas. Asaeli is scheduled to fly out on Tuesday evening and will join the team on Wednesday.”
Baber has been impressed Tuivoka and said:” I have seen how he has played, particularly coming to training, how he behaves and his work ethic. He is willing to be coached and provides a point of difference. He is quick, aggressive and is a pain for anybody in the contact area.”
Ahead of the Vancouver leg, the Fiji Sevens players and management will be handed US$9000 collected at a special fund raising dinner by the Fijian community in the Canadian city.
Petaia Usakilakeba, the fundraising co-ordinator, said: “I am proud to say that our community raised more than $9,000 from the collective effort of everyone that supporter this good cause for our rugby boys.”