14 April, 2018, 12:00 am
FORMER Fiji 7s and Commonwealth Games rep Saiasi Fuli is confident that Gareth Baber and his men will win the rugby gold medal at the Gold Coast Games tomorrow.
With Fiji having easy first pool encounters against Sri Lanka and Uruguay, Wales could be the an obstacle to the Fiji 7s team winning the pool.
But Baber’s assistant is keeping his fingers crossed against a repeat of the 2002 games in Manchester, England, when he was red-carded because of a late charge in the final against New Zealand.
“In the current HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, indiscipline can cost wins. Being flashed yellow cards can easily cost two tries from the oppositions,” he said.
“If there is a red card, the whole team is done. What I went through in 2002 is something I
always share with my rugby mates, the players I now coach and even the members of the current squad in the Commonwealth Games.
“Compared with 2002, this team has had good preparations. In 2002 we had two weeks because we had overseas-based players.
“This team has contracted and seasonal 7s players and had been in camp and went through preparations. They are ready.”
The heavyweights of the world series are in Gold Coast —— South Africa, New Zealand, England, Samoa and Fiji.
With the Hong Kong win last week as the warm-up, Fuli believes Baber has extra ammunition in the bag.
“We have our own unothordox style of play which no one else has. Any of our players can strike anytime from anywhere. We follow the modern style of coaching like other teams, but we have one thing they don’t have.
“We can score tries from anywhere because of our flair. Chain passing is used by teams such as Samoa, USA, New Zealand and other teams. We have players such as Kaione Nasoko, Sevuloni Mocenacagi and Eroni Sau who can operate from the edge and then see them again working inside, but give then a gap, they will strike. That includes those in the middle like Jerry Tuwai, Amenoni Nasilasila and Alasio Naduva.
“Any of the seven players can strike, and what they have is the trust between each other and they use that in the field.
“I am confident that we will win because we have a balance in the team.”
And he bets on Vatemo Ravouvou as the best sweeper.
“Ravouvou is the best in the business. We just have to keep him fit and safe.
“He can direct, control and win the game for us. He is the general just like Serevi. He masters play. He is the match winner.”
He said Kunatani and Jasa Veremalua would control the kick-off for possessions.
“Right now 7s games are determined in kick-offs. If we lose tye kick-off we are done.”
He calls on Fijians to support the team as the country chases for the elusive Commonwealth Games gold medal.
“Fijians are always wanting a win. Whatever team we send across, our expectation is always high and we want the win.
“I call on the public to understand the pressure the players go through. We need your support.”
Meanwhile the Fiji women’s 7s team started on a losing note at Robina Stadium last night in the first round of the women’s 7s in the 2018 Commonwealth Games in Gold Coast, Australia.
Fiji was beaten by three tries to one by England.
Coach Iliesa Tanivula said more work had to be done to be in contention in the competition
“We did not start well and I am disappointed,” Tanivula said.
“We missed on some passes and we have to step up in our next game against Wales.”
Timaima Ravisa scored Fiji’s try while Emily Scanatt, Deborah Fleming and Lynda Thompson scored for England.