AN Australian rugby union official best described sevens rugby and Fiji. "Fiji is always a great place to learn the game of 7s. It is the spiritual home of 7s and the whole country understands the game," offered Roza Bacelas, the project manager rugby communications for the Australian Rugby Union.
He went on to add what we all are dreaming of.
"It would be fantastic for Fiji to be an addition to the 7s World Series because it is Fiji's national sport and it would be fitting for Fiji to have a tournament."
Bacelas knows the Fijians well.
"Fiji is a fantastic place to visit. Teams are often lulled into a false sense of security with the friendly people, big smiles and warm handshakes. When you are out on the rugby field, Fijians are fierce competitors and we must be aware of this."
Australia is part of the Fiji Water Centennial International Sevens tournament.
"The competition looks to be shaping up with some very strong international teams. We are excited and grateful to be invited. The Fiji Water Centennial International 7s tournament will be a great opportunity for us to look at players before we finalise our selection." Australia, USA and Argentina will be using the tournament as a build-up to the Gold Coast Sevens.
"This trip will be a good learning experience for them," said USA's Zack Test, who is coming off probably his best season for the Eagles.
"We'll be able to make some adjustments going into the Gold Coast — we always play better in the second tournament, it seems, so this gives us a chance to have the second tournament be the one on the series." The US starts the Fiji Water Centennial International 7s with the first game of the tournament, against Argentina today. This fits right in with the following weekend, when the USA starts the 2013-2014 World Series, facing New Zealand.
After Argentina, the USA plays the Fiji Wardens team, followed by France.
Fiji Water chif executive Rokoseru Nabalarua said their product and Fiji International Sevens was a unique mix.
"This is FIJI Water's largest ever sponsorship for sports in Fiji," Nabalarua said during the launch.
"Fiji sevens rugby and FIJI Water are a natural fit, as both serve as ambassadors for the country bringing international recognition of all that makes Fiji unique."
Samoa is bringing in a mixture of youth and experience.
"The (Fiji Water Centennial International Sevens) will be a stepping stone for the new players and to monitor if they can swim the deep waters, these games also will be the final trials to select the final squad for the Gold Coast the following week," says coach Viliamu Punivalu.
Punivalu has named three experienced players — Patrick Fa'apale as captain, Levi Asi Fa'amatala and Sani Niue — in the mix for Fiji. He said his team was well tested in the Pacific Mini Games earlier in the month at Wallis and Futuna.
"We tested a group of young, exciting players (at the Mini Games) so it's really pleasing to include another set of new players for this team," Punivalu says.
"The Oceania â€¦ is something completely different, so they know they are in for a real test," he says.
"The good thing is we have a core of players who know and understand well the pressure of these competitive environments."
The Fiji RUgby Union has roped in Marist Sevens organisers to help stage a top tourney.
MRC president Lawrence Tikaram said they were ready to tackle the challenge and help in FRU's bid for an IRB 7s series leg.
He said the strength of their club was the volunteers, especially the old boys who would continue to contribute in the development of rugby in Fiji.
"We are doing this first and foremost for God and country which means we are doing this free of charge," Tikaram said.
"We will run this tournament with high spirit that hopefully IRB will recognise the strength of organisational capability through FRU and hopefully we are given the chance to host an event of such magnitude in future for Fiji. We are extremely proud of this opportunity."