Fiji Time: 7:27 PM on Wednesday 26 November

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Mission gold

Zanzeer Singh
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

THE Digicel Fiji 7s team will undergo wholesale changes for the Dubai and South Africa 7s tournaments with the coaching staff looking to groom a new breed of players for the 2013 Rugby World Cup Sevens and the 2016 Olympics.

Fiji 7s assistant coach Timoci Wainiqolo revealed while the target remained to win the 2012/2013 HSBC Sevens World Series, they were looking at a bigger picture for the future.

He said it was mission gold for the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Wainiqolo said the changes should not affect the performance of the team.

"For Dubai we have been talking about a change in the line-up," the former national rep said. "Maybe several new players will be brought in. This is because we are looking at the World Cup in 2013 and the Olympics in 2016.

"We want to change the squad in every leg and will wait and see what happens. The changes should not affect the performance of the team. The new players who come in know what to do."

Meanwhile, the victorious team was handed a cheque of $66,778.20 from sponsors Digicel upon their arrival from Australia yesterday. The money was part of the bonus payment for the team for winning the Gold Coast 7s.

Digicel Fiji chief executive officer Maurice McCarthy congratulated the team saying their performance was phenomenal. He said the team made a dream start to the 2012/2013 SWS with an early lead.

"Fiji was outstanding in the entire tournament even with eight debutants," McCarthy said.

"Our boys showed absolute class and played like a team that had been together for years. It was a wonderful job done by the team management in preparing the new team.

"Over the years Fiji Rugby Union has helped many players fulfil their dream of donning the national jersey."

Wainiqolo said he was proud to coach the winning team

He said the loss in the pool play to Australia proved to be a motivating factor.

"I'm really proud of the opportunity to coach the team," Wainiqolo said.

"I'm happy and proud to win the first tournament. The loss to Australia was the motivating factor for the boys. I told them not to lose hope and we would still win the tournament.

"We knew South Africa was a good side. But the boys never lost hope. They fought for their country. We took the ball away from South Africa and won. They were fast so we were always in their face.

"We now know how to tackle the opposition. The win at Gold Coast has opened the door for us to finish the HSBC SWS on the top. The goal is to win the series and the boys know that."

The Dubai 7s will be played on November 30 and December 1.





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