June 05, 2021
Fiji 7s Coach Gareth Baber says the seven new players in his 18-member squad for the Oceania 7s later this month have some expectations to meet.
Iosefo Masikau, Taniela Sadrugu, Rusiate Nasove, Joseva Talacolo, Juita Wainiqolo, Sireli Maqala and Kaminieli Rasaku have earned their spot in the squad but Baber wants to see these players to go a notch up from their performance in the domestic tournaments.
“You know obviously when they first come in to our environment, very different than what they have done previously. Although some of the have been in the academy or some of them have played for team in Fiji be it 15s or 7s.”
“But there is a way you do things and there’s an expectation that comes in an ability to being in the 7s environment. Very much little stages of being in here that’s what you found out and that’s what you have to work around.”
“So be that on the field with the trainings we do, the behaviours we expect and the way they have to conduct themselves as players tell you a lot about whether they can take the pressure and stress of being under the scrutiny of being international rugby players. Above all is the talent that they have enough for them to continue developing if they have the right attitude or not into learning to develop as well,” Baber explained.
He also mentioned that since there has not been any HSBC tournament, this is the best chance for these seven players to show their talent and get selected for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
“Those seven have not played any international competition previously but they have conducted themselves in a professional environment and supported by the Fiji rugby union and sports commission. We have looked at them, spoken to them and guided them in the last 6-7 months and now you see them stepping up to the level of international rugby and they get that opportunity this month.”
“Without the HSBC it’s very difficult to really gauge where the players are at and benchmark their own development. Really now we want to see that when you go in the tournament, that’s not all going to be easy and there is going to be difficulties for individuals and collectively as a team. The intensity and stress put on you there is what you need to see and be able to narrow it down and again see the players who can represent in the Olympics,” Baber added.
Oceania Rugby Sevens will be held from 25-27 of this month in Townsville, Australia.
By Romeka Romena