INTERIM sevens coach Alivereti Dere has spoken highly of debutants Kelepi Namoua and Benamino Maravu after the Pacific Mini Games in Wallis and Futuna.
Fiji went down to Samoa 12-31 in the final at the Kafika Stadium and Dere said he was not disappointed.
Although individualism was the major downfall for his side, Dere insisted the positives outweighed the negatives.
Namoua starred in all eight games at the event and scored two tries and kicked a few conversions while Maravu scored three tries and even copped a yellow card.
"Their performance is exactly what we were expecting from them," Dere said.
"They are young and energetic and they gave it their best on the field."
He said the young players in the team were like diamonds that needed to be carefully cut and polished to become gems.
"They have shown that they have the potential and heart to play sevens.
"They are still young and there is a long way for them to go and this was a good experience and exposure for these boys."
Wallis and Futuna coach Sailosi Nawavu compared Namoua to a young Emosi Vucago — "always in the thick of things".
Dere echoed similar sentiments saying the former Red Rock halfback was a star in the making.
"Indeed, he was good in attack and defence. Always involved in the game.
"He played all the games here and he was not afraid to run with the ball or tackle a player bigger than him."
Namoua, 23, had been bidding his time since 2010 to get a chance to wear the national jumper. And he did not disappoint because like Vucago, he did not back down.
"I am happy with the way he played at the halfback position and I think he can grow into the role and make the jersey his," Dere added.