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7s start IRB preparations

Emoni Narawa
Wednesday, April 18, 2012

THE Digicel Fiji sevens team marched into camp yesterday to prepare for the final leg of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Scotland and London next month.

Fiji trails New Zealand in the International Rugby Board Series table by six points. New Zealand leads with the 128, Fiji 122, South Africa is third with 105, while England and Samoa have 104 and 101 respectively.

Japan sevens champions Australia is at sixth place with 84 points. The national side made a vast improvement on the points table having moved up two spots on the current table after a disappointing fourth place finish last season.

Army Officers Isake Katonibau and lanky Flying Fijians lock Leone Nakarawa have been drafted into the 16-member squad to boost the team's preparation.

Head coach Alifereti Dere has retained 11 of his players that played at the Hong Kong and Japan tournaments.

Youngster Avenisi Vasuinubu has been dropped from the 16-member squad to concentrate on the Fiji under-20 rugby side.

Vasuinubu is one of the top players that Fiji U20 coach Sale Sorovaki will rest his hope on during the IRB Junior World Championship in South Africa in June.

Dere has retained Joji Ragamate, Niko Verekauta, Ilai Tinai, Metuisela Talebula, Sikeli Vuruna, Jimilai Naikadawa, Waisea Nayacalevu, Nikola Matawalu, Nemani Nagusa, Levani Botia, Joeli Lutumailagi and inspirational skipper Setefano Cakau for the final leg.

Naitasiri looseman Timoci Vakadranu and winger Alipate Ratini have also been named in the squad. Wardens speed merchant Niko Verekauta has another chance to impress the selectors.

Dere is optimistic to end the season on a high note.

Fiji is drawn in Pool C with Argentina, Portugal and Zimbabwe at the Scotland tournament on May 5-6. The London tournament is scheduled the following week.

Fiji 7s Squad: Alipate Ratini, Joji Ragamate, Niko Verekauta, Ilai Tinai, Metuisela Talebula, Isake Katonibau, Sikeli Vuruna, Jimilai Naikadawa, Leone Nakarawa, Timoci Vakadranu, Waisea Nayacalevu, Nikola Matawalu, Nemani Nagusa, Levani Botia, Joeli Lutumailagi, Setefano Cakau





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