NATIONAL sevens coach Alifereti Dere has admitted Fiji has a slim chance of retaining the Hong Kong 7s crown later this month.
The former national rep coached the side to victory last year when they beat New Zealand 35-28 in the final at So Kon Po Stadium.
This time around he is taking a realistic approach to the tournament which Fiji has won 12 times, the most by any nation.
He said hoisting the title for the 13th time would be very difficult.
"Look at this (Fiji's chances)at the moment, there is slim chance of doing that (retaining the Hong Kong 7s title)," Dere said.
The reason he gave for his remark is that other teams have so far been consistent throughout the season.
"New Zealand is a consistent team and yes, they are like at their peak while South Africa is the team to beat in the tournament after they won the Las Vegas tournament."
Dere added that whichever players he chooses would give it their best shot at the tournament.
"We will try our best in the tournament. We will prepare as best as we can and give our best performance.
"Also we will bring back our game pattern so that we can play to our strengths."
The 16-member side will be named tomorrow and Dere said they would take experienced players to the tournament.
He said because he played at the tournament, he understood what the Hong Kong 7s tournament was about and what would be required.
"For me, it was the pinnacle of the sport at that time (when Dere was playing) and to some extent it still is. This is the tournament that all players want to go to and from what we have seen recently there is a lot of teams that want to win the Hong Kong 7s.
"That is why we are trying to get experienced players that can match the demands in Hong Kong," Dere said.
The Hong Kong 7s will be played from March 22 to 24 withthe Tokyo 7s a week later.