THE selection of seven national sevens players from the recently completed IRB Sevens World Series campaign into the Flying Fijians squad shows that rugby development in the country is going the right direction.
That's the view of assistant national sevens coach Etuate Waqa as the Flying Fijians squad for the Pacific Nations Cup gathered in camp in Suva this week.
Digicel 7s team members from Glasgow and London tournaments Joeli Lutumailagi, Isake Katonibau and Metuisela Talebula have joined forces with Nikola Matawalu, Sekonaia Kalou, Watisoni Votu who played in the first three legs of the series.
Lanky Leone Nakarawa was also a member of the national sevens team last year.
Waqa said the stint in the 15s code would be good for these players as it would help them grow in their rugby career.
"That is the whole point of the sevens team, to be a pathway for players into the 15s team," he said.
"These sevens players have now progressed to the Flying Fijians squad and if they get selected for the final squad to play then they can add fifteens caps to their names."
But Waqa says this all depends on the Flying Fijians team management to help the sevens players with their transition into 15s.
"It all depends on the how the 15s team management handles them now and how they help with the recovery process because they've had a tough time during the 2011/2012 HSBC Sevens World Series.
Waqa was a development officer with the Fiji Rugby Union before he was selected to take up the post of the assistant national sevens coach and has shared some of his views on ways in which Fiji can use it's vast pool of rugby players.
He added that the development process in Fiji was all about exposing talent and continue to develop them till they could be used at a much bigger stage.
"Fiji has a lot of talent and a lot of potential and it's all about exposing these talents and potentials.
"That is why we have this age grade rugby, so we can form an under-20 team for competition overseas.
"If we continue to develop those U20 players and put them in clubs overseas or even locally they can then move on to the Fiji Warriors team and then the Flying Fijians."
He said local competitions was a good avenue to develop talents and more emphasis should be put in it.
"The local sevens competitions, the inter-provincial club competition, the district competition, the Digicel Cup and the Farebrother Challenge is provided to groom local talents.
"We have the players here and we have to groom them if we want to use them and so we must make these competitions professional so the players can get professional competition.
Waqa is confident if the process is continued and improved on, it will help players secure contracts overseas.
"The more overseas games we play, the more exposure our local players will get."
"They not only get to play Test matches but scouts can also see their potential and maybe they can secure overseas contracts."