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Fiji Time: 12:52 PM on Friday 25 April

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Ready for 7s

Rashneel Kumar
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

LEPANI Botia is itching to get back to his first love, sevens rugby, in the third leg of the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series.

The former Fiji 7s skipper was committed to the Flying Fijians and pulled out of the team for the second leg where Fiji won its first Dubai 7s title.

Watching that historic win on television, Botia couldn't wait to get over with his 15s commitment and get back to 7s.

Now included by head coach Ben Ryan in his 23-member squad for the Las Vegas and Wellington 7s tournaments, the 24-year-old Wardens player is hoping to get back to the game that brought him fame.

"I'm ready for anything, if they want me to play 7s or 15s, I'm up for the challenge," Botia said.

"I was very happy with the performance of the boys in Dubai. To see them winning there made me want to play with them.

"I will do my best and hopefully reclaim my place in the Fiji 7s team."

Botia praised coach Ryan, who regards the former as his "best 7s player", for introducing the dieting program for the national players.

He said diet played an important role in the abbreviated code.

"That's an important factor in 7s rugby. That should have been happening and I'm happy that Ben has brought that up and keeping a close tab on the players' food intake.

"To be strong and fast, we need to have control over what we eat and the onus is on the players to take responsibility and keep themselves in shape."

Of his experience with the Flying Fijians, Botia who was part of the Northern tour where he played two games said it had helped him grow as a player.

"There is a huge difference in 7s and 15s rugby. In 7s, we have to keep running until the final whistle but in 15s we get time to rest in between the play," he said.

"Fitness is very important in 7s as well as in 15s and the type of training in both codes is different as well."

Botia's advice to the aspiring players in the Fiji 7s squad is to "work and train hard to fight for your position" in the team.

At the back of his mind, he is equally aware of the challenge in making his return to the 7s fold.

Fiji 7s squad :

Apisai Domolailai, Benito Masilevu, Donasio Ratubuli, Emosi Mulevoro, Eroni Sau, Henry Seniloli, Ilai Tinai, Jasa Veremalua, Jona Tuitoga, Leo Nakasewa, Lepani Botia, Manoa Tamaya, Marika Vunibaka, Meli Kurisaru, Mosese Mawalu, Osea Kolinisau, Pio Tuwai, Samisoni Nasagavesi, Samu Saqiwa, Semi Kunatani, Vatemo Ravouvou, Viliame Mata, Waisea Nacuqu