Lepani Botia is adamant the Fiji 7s team can maintain the winning platform they set in Gold Coast for the next leg of the World 7s Series in Dubai and South Africa despite talks by All Blacks 7s coach Gordon Tietjens of beefing up his squad with experienced players.
In an interview following the Australia 7s, Tietjens was quoted as saying that he was considering beefing up his squad with players from the ITM Cup and Super Rugby.
Speaking to FijiLive, Botia said as long as preparation is done right and instructions as well as set game plans is followed, the Fiji 7s team irrespective of the make-up of the traveling team should do well.
“The players who went in the first leg were great and did their part well so I don’t think changes to the squad or the fact that other teams bringing on new players should discourage us if we continue to do our preparation right and playing well,” Botia said.
“There are always changes happening to different squads but if we worry too much about their changes we lose focus on improving our own so we waste valuable time to prepare well.
“I have faith in the coaches and the senior players who were part of that traveling team to Australia as well as the new faces that will come on for the next two tournaments not to lose focus. When we started off training this season we were reminded about our overall target as a team and the importance of not losing focus of that so I’m counting on that.”
Botia is carrying a niggling knee injury and has been mindful to get enough rest and recover well before preparation resumes next week.
Only four players, including Botia, have been recalled in a 34-member list invited to attend a fitness test next Wednesday to prepare for the second and third rounds of the 2012/2013 HSBC World 7s Series in Dubai and South Africa.
Also recalled for the test are Alipate Ratini, Joji Ragamate, Ilai Tinai, Setefano Cakau, Timoci Vakadranu and Taniela Rawaqa.
The fitness test to be held at the HPU Gym in Suva will begin at 9am.
Invited players: 1. G. Tube , 2. I. Naiubi, 3. I. Tukere, 4. T. Vuadreum 5. S. Dawai, 6. S. Levula, 7. A. Simolo, 8. S.Cakaum 9. S. Lutu, 10. S. Vuruna, 11. P. Vaciloa, 12. A. Natoga, 13. N. Wakaya, 14. J. Stewart, 15. V. Sokiveta, 16. J. Tagitagi, 17. J. Baleidawa, 18. PT. Nawavu, 19. K. Taliga, 20. W. Nagusu, 21. S. Bale, 22. S. Gavidi, 23. M. Bula, 24. J. Tuwai, 25. I. Lenoam 26. W. Varani, 27. J. Lotawa, 28. T. Rawaqa, 29. Marika. K, 30. L. Botia, 31. J. Raqamate, 32. I. Tinai, 33. A. Ratini, 34. Timoci Vakadranu
By Lavenia Vuadreu