THE national sevens side should not be disheartened by criticisms of their performance at the Wellington 7s, says Fiji's Minister for Youth and Sports Commander Viliame Naupoto.
He said once players were selected to represent the country in any event, they became national assets.
"As national assets, these players carry the name of Fiji and if they perform not so well and are being criticised for it, then they must accept the criticism," the minister said.
On the same note, Cdr Naupoto said the nation should also take ownership of the team in good and in bad times.
Fiji lost to Canada 19-28 in the Bowl final of the tournament and are currently placed fourth on the HSBC Sevens World Series points table with 51 points.
Cdr Naupoto said the side should accept the criticisms and learn from it to do better.
"On the other side, we as a nation own them so we don't only own them when they win, we also own them if they lose."
Cdr Naupoto wished the national sevens side all the best in their games at the Las Vegas tourney. "I urge them to give their hearts and minds into what needs to be done and wish them all the best for Las Vegas. They should not be disheartened by the loss. If anything, it should give them more reason to win."
He added the players and coaches should not lose focus of the major task ahead. "There is a bigger fish to catch in Russia in June (the Rugby World Cup Sevens)," Cdr Naupoto said. The national side is in Nevada, US, preparing for the Las Vegas 7s this weekend.