11/05/2019 | News release | Distributed by Public on 11/05/2019 04:29
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s Coach Gareth Baber has included three young players in his 13-member squad in their bid to defend the Oceania title for the fourth consecutive time at ANZ Stadium in Suva.
Tough forward Kavekini Tabu and utility back Rusiate Matai have been named in the squad since halfbacks Jerry Tuiwai is not available.
Baber has called Vodafone Fiji Under-20 rep Simione Kuruvoli as the 13th player to cover both the halfback and first five position and be given the opportunity to play at the Oceania 7s.
Baber said 'I have to see these players playing in a competitive environment.
'I suppose the important part for this team is to find out exactly where we are in-terms of our fitness level and how we are developing the young players'.
Baber has also named some of his key players such as lanky Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Josua Vakurunabili, Ratu Meli Derenalagi and Apenisa Cakuabalavu upfront.
Captain Paula Dranisinukula has been rested which gives Waisea Nacuqu a chance to lead the pack in the two day tournament.
Top seasonal players like Filimoni Botitu, Waisea Nacuqu, Terio Tamani and speedster Aminiasi Tuimaba will add more fire power from the backline.
Baber said they have a few players who will provide utility.
'We got some players who can play in the forwards and the backs like Isoa Tabu and Sevuloni Mocenacagi'.
'We also have half-backs who can play as play-makers, rovers who can play on the wing and vise-versa.'
'I'm not looking too much at this tournament as a do or die situation but using this opportunity us to find out where we are as a group' Baber said.
Fiji is grouped with New Zealand, Japan, New Caledonia and Niue in Pool A.
The Oceania 7s will be played on from this Thursday to Saturday at ANZ Stadium, Suva.
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team for Oceania 7s
In the meantime, 7 members of the extended squad namely Asaeli Tuivuaka, Anasa Qaranivalu, Veniona Vuki, Livai Ikanikoda, Tevita Mociu and Kameli Rasaku, are travelling to Australia to participate in the Dawin 7s with Assistant Coach Joe Savou.
Coach Baber, stated that this is all part of our preparation to the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and ultimately to the Olympics and giving all the players in the extended squad exposure to different levels of competitions so that they have the needed depth should these players get a call up during the series.
Senior players Jerry Tuiwai, Kalione Nasoko, Paula Draunisinukula and Alisio Naduva continue their rehabilitation and training in Suva.