Better than ever

Jasa Veremalua of Fiji Airways Fiji 7's team attacks against Canada during their quarter final clash at HSBC/IRB London 7"s leg at Twickenham last night. Fiji won 40-7. Picture: SUPPLIED

IT is a no-brainer to have proper physical preparation before a world tournament, but that is exactly why the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team is consistently better this season. With four titles — NZ 7s in Hamilton, Canada 7s in Vancouver, Hong Kong 7s and Singapore 7s — and a 22-match winning streak, the team is performing better than it has ever had.

In his first year of coaching Fiji, Gareth Baber had a list of to-do things after last season. After a high finish in 2016 — being world champion as well as Olympics gold medallist, Fiji slipped to second position.

“As a management staff and playing group there were a whole heap of learnings that we had from last year’s world series,” Baber said.

“I believe that the growth of any individual/group comes in the ability to firstly identify those areas of delivery that need improving but also the humility to accept the feedback from that.

“Sometimes it can be a difficult process but something I believe strongly in achieving with any group that I work with. “Through our review process we identified a number of areas which required attention and one at the top of the list was that of physical preparation.”

To prepare the team for the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Commonwealth Games and the Rugby World Cup 7s, Baber and his coaching team spent their off-season developing the strength and power of the players.

This meant with diligence and dedication to time spent in the gym.

“These two elements are the basis to any athletic physical program and the attention we gave to this, I believe has created a profile of game that we now play.”

Fiji has been undefeated in 22 matches after the completion of pool games at the HSBC London 7s.

It has a 84 per cent winning streak and in the 51 matches they have played since the start of the season to pool play at the HSBC London 7s, they have won 43 and lost eight.