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Fiji Time: 12:41 PM on Sunday 20 April

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Team lacked fitness, says Red Rock coach

Manoj Kumar
Monday, December 03, 2012

Red Rock club coach Lote Rasiga summed up Fiji's dismal performance at the Dubai Sevens in a few words.

"They were simply unfit," said the man many feel should be included in the national team setup.

"It's no use having talent and speed when you can't match it with superior fitness," he added.

Rasiga, whose side won $33,000 at the recent Coral Coast Sevens in Sigatoka, said the writing was on the wall from the opening game.

"There were too many errors. Did you see the amount of missed tackles? The lineouts were poor. We could hardly win possession from our own throws," he said.

"There is so much for the coach to work on going into the next tournament."

Alifereti Dere's men lost to France 5-8 in the cup quarter-final before being smashed 5-27 by Wales in the plate semi-final.

Samoa went on to win the cup final, beating New Zealand 26-15 while the Mike Friday-coached Kenya finished third with a 15-12 win over France.

In the cup semi-finals, New Zealand beat Kenya 27-7 and Samoa edged France 12-5. Wales beat Canada 21-14 in the plate final, Argentina pipped South Africa 14-10 in the bowl final and England triumphed 26-5 over Spain in the shield final.

Fiji has dropped to joint second with Samoa and Kenya on 32 points while New Zealand takes top spot on the 2012/2013 IRB Sevens World Series points table with 38 points.

After winning the Gold Coast Sevens under the guidance of assistant coach Timoci Wainiqolo, Dere opted to blood in seven new faces in the United Arab Emirates.

Skipper Setefano Cakau, Lepani Botia, Sikeli Vuruna, Joji Ragamate and Ilai Tinai were the only old names.

Rasiga feels at least three of his players deserve a crack at the national jumper.

Having earlier groomed players like Sireli Bobo, Niumaia Cakacaka, Lepani Nabuliwaqa, Peni Gaunimeke and Timoci Matanavou, Rasiga is awaiting call-ups for prop Jasa Veremalua, rover Sireli Cagi and winger Jone Macilai.

"They have stood out recently. They are fit and ready and it will be nice to see them given a chance to prove their worth in the national team."

Fiji moves on to play at the South Africa Sevens this weekend.