July 21, 2021
Fiji 7s Coach Gareth Baber says Oceania Sevens was the gateway for his players to show their capability and perform at a different level prior to Tokyo Olympics.
Baber in an interview with World Rugby said their biggest challenge has been the COVID-19 pandemic as the team could not play international tournaments compared to neighbors Australia and New Zealand.
“The biggest challenge for all of our teams is, where are we at? Because, ultimately, if you play in any league or series or whatever it may be in sport, you start to get an understanding and a measure, and you start to get to a rhythm with the way that you play,” Baber said.
“As coaches, you're able to reflect on how you have played and move the group on, and you just don't have that. So we haven't had a normal mechanism for players developing the game and for us to develop the way we are as a culture. And so we've had to do a lot of work around that.”
“The Oceania tournament gave us an opportunity to have a good look at that and all those aspects that build into performance from an individual perspective, but also from a team perspective.”
“And, you know, we were robust, we were strong. We didn't play great in every game and there were areas of our game that we [must] keep working on,” he said.
He also mentioned the national boys have better fitness and intensity level while the newcomers are players to look out for next week.
“But, what I was pleased about is that when you look at our fitness and the intensity we brought, the physicality we brought, the skill level we brought, the areas of the game we focused on developing over the last three to four months and the quality that we're now seeing in them, I was pleased that they matched up under the scrutiny of international competition."
“There were some young boys as well, the first time they've ever been tested to that level, and ultimately, that gives you some sort of guideline for when you're making your selections,” he added.
By Romeka Romena