Fiji 7s coach Alifereti Dere pleads for patience ahead of the upcoming 2012/2013 HSBC 7s Series.
Speaking to FijiLive, Dere said fans and the public in general will have to expect slow starts, some heartbreak before “we can get back to the momentum we had set in the last series.”
“That momentum is no more. With the number of key players we have lost its back to block one for us with identifying new players, upskilling them and hoping for the best they will blend in well with the old heads and adapt well if they make the trip to the 7s Series.”
Dere said the 47-member squad they have identified for the first fitness test Wednesday are talented and experienced but the core lack 7s series experience.
“So we can’t expect to be back to that form that we finished off in London last season. But, that’s not to say that we won’t get there. We will get there but it will take some time.”
After the fitness test at 9am Wednesday at the Suva High Performance Unit gym, players will be given individual training programs to follow up on. They don’t return till September 10 when Dere and his co-coach Etuate Waqa call their conduct their first national camp.
The 2012/2013 Series starts in the Gold Coast on October.
Included in the extended squad are Setefano Cakau, Livai Botia, Timoci Vakadranu, Jone Raqamate, Ilai Tinai, Niko Verekauta, Sikeli Vuruna, Osea Kolinisau, Isake Katonibau and Watisoni Votu all of whom were part of last series’ squad. Also included in the group is Metuisela Talebula who left for France last month for a stint with Bordeaux Beagles.
The squad is divided into three groups and includes Sailosi Rabonaqica and Iliesa Ratuva, both of whom have featured in the World 7s Series.
The first two groups comprise experienced players whilst the third is made up of U20s who featured in the Digicel Cup age-grade competition, four who were part of the Fiji U20s team to the South Africa Junior World Cup in June this year and a lone overseas-based rep in Isikeli Nabou who plies his trade in New Zealand.
FIJI 7S SQUAD – 2012/2013
Manueli Laqai, S Cakau, Saqiwa (Nadi), Timoci Vakadranu, Lepani Botia, S Rabo (Nadroga), Esira Vueti
Joji Raqamate, Jiuta Lutumailagi, Ilai Tinai, Joeli Lutumailagi, Niko Verekauta, Osea Kolinisau, Watisoni Votu, E Ratini, T Natoga (Nadroga)
Gasau Tube (Nadi), Iliesa Ratuva (Nadroga), S Dawai (Lautoka), Ulaiasi Lawavou (Nadroga), S Cakau, Lemeki Naiubi (Lautoka), Tukere (Tailevu)
Asaeli Druma, Isikeli Vuruna, Talebula, S Lutu, Isake Katonibau, Tabuakuru (Suva), Sokiveta (Navy), A Waqatabu, Peni Vaciloa
Josua Tuiova, Waisea Nacugu, Kitione Taliga, Joni Baleidawa, Donasio Ratubuli, Peni Nawavu, Samuela Bale
Jeremaia Tuwai, Ledua Ratumuri (U20s), Aca Simolo (U20s), Temo Raibevu (U20s), Sikeli Gavidi (U20s), Mmaleli Bula, Levula (Suva), Peni Ravai, Isikeli Nabou (NZ)