Hunts for glory

Rugby Sevens World Cup winner Viliame Satala believes the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team has the potential to create history at the Hong Kong and the Commonwealth Games.

Dubbed the “Stretcher” for his ability to flatten oppositions with big hits, Satala said the team had a good mix to do wonders for the country.

Satala played at two Commonwealth Games (2002, 2006) winning silver medal for both events and he is best remembered for his huge hit on Australian forward Scot Fava.

Fava was later stretchered off the field.

The former Flying Fijians centre also lifted the coveted Hong Kong 7s title in 1999 and later helped Fiji to win its second world cup title in 2005.

He said Fiji had a good mix of players to produce the goods at both tournaments.

Satala said the side should treat all games as the final and take each game as they come.

“Fiji’s first focus is to start well against Samoa in their opening pool game,” he said.

“Fiji has a very good mix and the team need to treat every game as the final.

“We have tough pool games in Samoa, Russia and New Zealand and we cannot underestimate any team.”

He said some teams had named their second string team for the event but it would not deter them from winning in So Kon Po.

“Hong Kong is always different from all other 7s tournaments and all teams will want to win.

“The atmosphere will certainly motivate all teams to stamp their mark in Hong Kong and despite some teams naming second-string side — the competition will always be tough.”

Satala said the inclusion of warhorses such as Isake Katonibau, Samisoni Viriviri and Semi Kunatani would boost the team’s campaign.

He said the performance of the team at the Hong Kong 7s would be a platform for the Commonwealth Games.

“Fiji has never won gold medals at the Commonwealth and I am hopeful these boys can create history at the Games.

“Their performance in Hong Kong will set the platform for the Commonwealth Games and I am confident the team will do wonders.

“Players should feel for each other and play as a team,” Satala said.

Meanwhile, former national 7s coach Ben Ryan and former All Blacks 7s captain Karl Te Nana said Fiji made the right decision sending a strong team to the Hong Kong 7s.

Ryan twitted “Well done Fiji rugby for selecting their strongest side for the Hong Kong 7s. This gives them a serious tilt at the overall series title if they bring their A game to So Kon Po stadium.”

Te Nana also twitted “Vinaka Fiji, loving it, giving Hong Kong the respect it deserves.”

The Hong Kong 7s will be held on April 6-8.