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17 fight for 12 spots

Rashneel Kumar
Saturday, January 11, 2014

FIJI 7s coach Ben Ryan has named two new players in his 17-member squad for the Las Vegas and Wellington tournaments.

Marika Vunibaka and Viliame Mata are a step away from making their debut in the HSBC Sevens World Series.

Ryan has also recalled former 7s skipper Levani Botia and former 7s reps Apisai Domolailai and Henry Seniloli.

He retained the victorious Dubai 7s side except for Waisea Nacuqu who is unavailable for the upcoming leg.

Ryan said there was a lot of competition in the squad for the final spot and he would have to make some tough decisions when naming the final team next week.

"There is some exciting young talent in there when you look at Marika Vunibaka and Viliame Mata in particular, they have never been in the training squad before.

"In Marika's case, he has come through the age group and played at the Junior World Cup, is part of the High Performance Unit and I can see in his conditioning, he is one of the fittest and strongest players."

Ryan said Pio Tuwai was likely to join the team when they resumed training next week on Tuesday.

He said there were a few niggling injuries in the squad which was not a major concern.

"We had a high volume of training where we covered over 40 kilometres in eight training sessions this week.

"What I'm looking for is forming a nice mix of players we need so that we can cover in case of injuries in the tournaments.

"Also in case of slight different game plans that we might need to have in Vegas in that 58 metre pitch, which is 12m narrower than Wellington and also two games a day over three days which is also different to what we had.

"It won't be too far off the type of mix we had in Dubai and Port Elizabeth in the forward and backward ratio."

The Las Vegas tournament will be held on January 24 to 26.

17-member squad:

Apisai Domolailai, Benito Masilevu, Donasio Ratubuli, Emosi Mulevoro, Henry Seniloli, Viliame Mata, Jona Tuitoga, Leo Naikasau, Levani Botia, Marika Vunibaka, Mosese Mawalu, Osea Kolinisau, Pio Tuwai, Samisoni Viriviri, Samuela Saqiwa, Semi Kunatani, Vucago Bainitabua.





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