HSBC London 7s: Fiji chases history

Fiji Airways Men’s 7s player Vatemo Ravouvou with his family at Nadi International Airport before their departure. Picture: REINAL CHAND

THE Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team will be chasing a piece of history at the HSBC World Rugby Series England 7s tournament in London.

After setting a new Fijian rugby record of winning three world tournaments consecutively, coach Gareth Baber and his 7s gladiators will battle hard to go the extra mile as the first team in the world to win four consecutive tournaments.

Fiji’s win at Vancouver, Hong Kong and Singapore allowed them to level South Africa’s record of winning three consecutive 7s events.

Unlike South Africa who has been together for more than three years, the Fijian team is one of the least experienced side in the competition in terms of their overall world 7s series outings.

And Baber has attributed the success of the team to the players’ commitment and sheer hard work. He said the sacrifices endured by the players and the team management since his appointment contributed to the team’s achievement.

Baber has also equalled the records set by Ben Ryan and Waisale Serevi of winning four tournaments (Hamilton, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore) in one season.

He said the players’ attitude to conquer the new challenge enabled the team to do well.

“I suppose it is the mental approach the players have taken, the staff members, the support of the FRU (Fiji Rugby Union) and the sponsors put us in a position we are now,” said Baber.

“These young men have less experience but they have learnt quickly and the support of their families and those around them to be able to go around and get better and better in a short period of time.

“We faced few challenges at the beginning and we know we have lost some games we shouldn’t have. “It is all part of the learning process and we are starting to win games.”

Fiji also recorded the most wins since the commencement of this year’s 7s series. The Jerry Tuwai-captained side has won 40 out of 48 games so far while South Africa has recorded 10 losses from 48 games.

However, Baber reiterated the ultimate aim was to do well in the last two tournaments to win the series.

“There will be tight games and the biggest thing is to reinforce the positives to make us competitive.

“The players know what job is to be done and the passion of doing that for them and for the country.

“We are ready for the challenge.”

Fiji faces New Zealand, Scotland and Argentina at the London 7s and if the side makes it to the cup quarter-final it will meet either South Africa or Samoa.

Meanwhile, Eroni Sau and Samisoni Viriviri had their France visas sorted out and will be joining the team this weekend.