Editorial comment – Standing behind Fiji 7s

Amenoni Nasilasila receives a pass during a training yesterday. Picture: ATU RASEA

National 7s rugby coach Gareth Baber is optimistic members of his squad will continue to produce desired results.

He insists this is despite what he terms “the continuous criticism” they face from fans.

After winning four tournaments in the 2017/2018 World Rugby Sevens Series, Baber said they would continue to work hard and strive for wins in the remainder of the series. Fiji won at the Hamilton 7s, the Vancouver 7s, the Hong Kong 7s and recently the Singapore 7s which took them to the top of the series points standing with 145.

Former series leader South Africa is sitting on second spot with 141 points.

The final two tournaments in London and Paris are important for Fiji to maintain the lead on the table and take out top honours this season.

That will, however, not be a stroll in the park.

Baber insists the players have worked hard and have been taking criticisms.

“We are getting the results which we need, but it is not guaranteed to continue. We will continue to do what we need to do and focus on ourselves to get our wins,” he said. Wins over the Blitzbokke and New Zealand in Singapore, it appears, have not drowned the loss in the final of the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia last month though.

The challenge is to maintain consistency at the highest level of the game though.

That means digging deep within ourselves to lift our form in London on June 2 and 3, and in Paris on June 9 and 10. As preparation continues, Baber has made no bones about the need to do that well.

There is hope that the national side will be focused also on the big one in the US.

That’s when we head for the Sevens World Cup on July 20 to 22 in San Francisco.

With Olympics gold in the bag from Rio in 2016, fans will no doubt be keen to see our side take out top honours in the US later in the year.

Heading to London, a number of our players are ranked highly on the series stats this season.

Amenoni Nasilasila is number two on the “most tries scored” list with 269 points so far, behind Nathan Hirayama of Canada on 273.

Nasilasila is also sitting on second spot with 77 points in the “most conversions scored” list, again behind Nathan Hirayama on 80. Eroni Sau is sitting on number three with 33 tries on the “most tries scored” list, behind Perry Baker of the US with 37 at number one and Carlin Isles also of the US on 35. Sau sits on number two in the “most clean breaks made” list with 50, behind Baker on 51. Skipper Jerry Tuwai sits on number three with 44.

Sau has made the most tackles so far with 119, with Nasilasila coming in second with 116 to date.

The challenge is for our team to maintain consistency. The challenge for fans is to believe in the team and support them.

Go Fiji, go.