June 08, 2021
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Players to meet families after 16 weeks

Fiji Men's and Women's 7s players will return to their families after almost 16 weeks upon the completion of the Olympics as they were in camp when the country went into a lockdown, are currently preparing in Australia and will head to Japan from there for the Games.

The Gareth Baber and Saiasi Fuli coached side trained for eight weeks in separate bubbles before flying out to Brisbane in the weekend to prepare for the Oceania 7s and the Tokyo Games.

Baber in an interview with TV NZ said they were fortunate to receive clearance from the Fiji government to prepare for the Olympics.

"The players came in on the Monday thinking they were going home on the Friday and by the Tuesday/Wednesday it was clear that we had to stay together," Baber said.

"As things escalated there was obviously the need to show the public we were behaving in the right manners as well. The players haven't been home, they've been in that bubble, and they will not see their families - they will continue now onto Australia and then onto Japan."

The 51-strong delegation of players and team officials will spend the next two weeks in isolation, but will resume training in their team bubbles after three days, provided everyone returns a negative test for Covid-19.

Baber said the Fijian players watched the All Blacks and Blacks Ferns Sevens taking on their Australian counterparts last month and are looking forward to a return to top level competition.

"In some respects I suppose it gets a few bits of those competitive juices flowing and ultimately what we want to see where is our programme at coming into four or five weeks before the Olympics."

"It's a complicated situation for certain...but if we get ourselves in the right mental state and we work hard to establish the rhythm we've got to have in that tournament we'll be capable of winning that."

World Rugby's Men's Sevens Player of the Decade Jerry Tuwai and Kitione Taliga are the only two players remaining from the Fiji squad that won sevens gold in Rio five years ago.

Baber and Fuli have each taken 18 players to Australia, but can only name 13 players in the final Olympic squad.

The Fijian squads have received their first dose of the AstraZeneca Covid-19 vaccine and will receive their final jab while they are in Australia.

By Romeka Romena  

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