FIJI sevens assistant coach Timoci Wainiqolo said critics should not underestimate the potential of the new set of players in the national squad.
As the Gold Coast 7s winners prepared to fly out of Brisbane for Nadi last night, Wainiqolo said the players had played to prove a point to their critics.
He said despite his short time with the national team, they had proved their worth.
Fiji's scintillating 32-14 final performance stunned New Zealand and shut up the critics at home.
Wainiqolo said the Gold Coast 7s victory belonged to the people of Fiji.
Wainiqolo came under immense criticism from some rugby pundits following his appointment as Alivereti Dere's assistant.
They also criticised the inclusion of new reps in the national team and gave Fiji no chance in the Gold Coast 7s.
"This is for all those who criticised us, for those who supported with their whole hearts and our half-hearted supporters. I know there was so much said about the team but the result is out there," the former national 7s star said
"I know Fiji must be proud of this win."
"I have been with the team for only two weeks but I knew what I had to do. I knew what was required of me and I was ready to deliver," Wainiqolo added.
"Graham (Eden) and others were saying that we won't be able to do it at the Gold Coast but I knew the players had the potential to achieve the goal.
"One thing about Fijian players is you have to tell them their mistakes straight no matter how experienced they are.
"That's what I have been doing with these players. I have been telling them their weaknesses because Fijian players do not lack skills and only need proper guidance."
Prominent rugby commentator Eden had publicly said Fiji would get hammered at the Gold Coast 7s.
"You have an unqualified coach (Wainiqolo) and a coach (Dere) from the past calling and giving instructions to the players, and then there is a young bunch of inexperienced players who will definitely find it confusing," Eden was quoted as saying to FBC Sports.
Fiji leads the IRB 7s Series on 22 points followed by New Zealand on 19 and South Africa on 17.