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Hunt for 7s flyer

Arin Kumar
Friday, December 28, 2012

National sevens assistant coach Timoci Wainiqolo is confident of finding a suitable replacement for Alipate Raitini on the wing.

The 21-year-old Raitini, who made his debut for the national side at the Gold Coast 7s, had scored six tries in the tournament to help Fiji retain the title.

Last week, he signed a one-year deal with National Rugby League (NRL) club, Cronulla Sharks.

After a fitness test in Suva yesterday Wainiqolo said finding a replacement for Raitini would not be difficult.

He said while Raitini's move was a big loss to the sevens team, it had opened the door for another player to make his mark.

"He (Raitini) is the only big name missing from the fitness test today (yesterday) because he has switched codes," the Wardens mentor said.

"His move is a big loss to the team because now we will have to look at other players for the spot.

"But if you look at it another way, we have a lot of talent out there and finding a replacement will not be hard."

Wainiqolo said they had started looking for replacements and were confident of finding the right person for the job.

"We need a specialist for that position because speed and finishing is important especially now that series is tougher.

"We have players like (Apisalome) Waqatabu and (Osea) Kolinisau and these guys can fill the gap.

"Also we may have to look for some new faces and now that we have nine selectors helping us out, it should not be a hard to find a winger.

"Players like Kolinisau and Waqatabu have played in the position and they could be on the wings if they are selected."

Wainiqolo said speed was an area that the side needed in its bid to win more tournaments on the 2012/2013 HSBC Sevens World Series.

"There are a lot of fast players in the series now compared to the past and it shows just how important speed is.

"We need speed in attack to help us get to the opponent's tryline and we also need speed during defence."





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