LOCAL sevens rugby fans must give newly-appointed national assistant coach Timoci Wainiqolo time to settle down into his new role and not expect a lot from him on his first trip to the IRB Sevens World Series.
That’s the view of former Digicel sevens coach Josateki Savou as he congratulated Wainiqolo on his new job.
Savou, who is now based in the Solomon Islands, said while Wainiqolo had proven himself on the local sevens circuit, the IRB Series was of higher standard and he would need time to settle down and experience the competition.
Savou said he believed Wainiqolo should have been given a say in how the team to the Gold Coast 7s tournament was to be selected.
“I believe it will not be easy for him because the team was already selected and he would have a different idea of how he wants the team to play.”
Savou said Wainiqolo should have been called into the national sevens program earlier because he had a very successful time with the Wardens sevens team last year.
“But its good to see that his coaching talent is finally being recognised and I ask that everyone give him all the support he needs so he can continue his good work in the national team,” Savou said.
Savou said while Wainiqolo would miss the services of some key players from last year’s team, he would still be able to put together a very strong team to represent Fiji in the opening series tournament in Australia.
“While he will miss the combination of Nikola Matawalu and Metuisela Talebula, he still has Joji Ragamate and Ilai Tinai to rely on as he prepares the team for the defence of Gold Coast title.”
Savou and Wainiqolo played together for the Wardens sevens team in the 1990s before they made it to the national team.
National sevens manager Tevita Waqairawai confirmed this week that Wainiqolo would lead the team to Gold Coast, Wellington and Las Vegas tournaments.
Sevens head coach Dere will not be available for the three tournaments because of travel sanctions put in place by the Australian and New Zealand governments.