15 April, 2018, 12:00 am
FIJI 7s team coach Gareth Baber believes composure will be the winner in the 2018 Commonwealth Games rugby 7s on the Gold Coast this afternoon.
Riding on the back of the Hong Kong 7s historic feat last week, Baber’s men hit Robina Stadium ground running with a nine-try win against Sri Lanka in the first pool outing. Fiji won 63-5.
But Sri Lanka’s best player, Danushka Wijekoon had the crowd on its feet when he sliced through the Fijian defence in the first minute for the first try.
They led 5-0.
It woke the Fijians from their slumber before they romped away to the highest win of the morning round scoring nine tries which were all converted, probably a first for the side with the kickers on target for the extra two pointers.
The team combined well. Loose passes were minimal. Dropped passes nil, and set pieces put into motion early as the race for the gold medal in the final this afternoon starts.
Tries came from Alasio Naduva (2), Sevuloni Mocenacagi a hat-trick, Amenoni Nasilasila (2), Semi Kunatani and Paula Dranisinikula one apiece.
Vatemo Ravouvou converted the four tries in the first half while Nasilasila also had his kicking boots on when he came on in the second half.
Baber said he gave all players a run against Sri Lanka to have a feel of the tournament.
“We were in a position at halftime where we can push all our players in the second half. It was good to get the players to rotate and get as much coverage as possible,” Baber said.
Baber replaced skipper Jerry Tuwai, Vatemo Ravouvou and Semi Kunatani at the break to field Paula Dranisinukula, Jasa Veremalua and Eroni Sau.
Naduva and Mocenacagi had a field day against the weaker opposition but Baber said the pressure would mount as the tournament continued.
“We scored some good tries, but a little disappointment on the lapse of concentration sometimes. But this team knows where they are, They know what to do and they know they have to click as they go through the day and tomorrow. Overall it was a good start.
“We have to pull through because every game is a knockout and we will make sure that we play tight and squeeze as much pressure as we can.
Yesterday morning results: Men: Australia 24-7 Samoa, England 38-5 Jamaica, Canada 10-26 Kenya, New Zealand 54-0 Zambia, Wales 31-5 Uganda, Fiji 63-5 Sri Lanka, Scotland 27-0 Papua New Guinea, South Africa 43-0 Malaysia.
Women: South Africa 10-19 Kenya, NZ 24-7 Canada.
Aust 32-5 Jamaica, England 33-0 Samoa, Canada 47-0 Zambia, NZ 40-7 Kenya.