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Best attackers

Rashneel Kumar
Friday, March 21, 2014

LATEST statistics released by the International Rugby Board rate the Vodafone Fiji 7s side as one of the most effective teams this season.

Fiji is rated the top attacking side, scoring a try every 44 seconds of possession.

But the national side is starved of possession and enjoys the third-lowest amount of possession going into the Tokyo 7s, which starts tomorrow at the Prince Chichibu Memorial Ground in Japan.

Fiji will play France in its opening pool match at 1pm followed by the clash against the United States at 4.18pm.

In its last pool match, the side will face Samoa at 8.52pm on Saturday.

Coach Ben Ryan is pleased with the statistics adding it showed the side had a very strong attacking game and had scored more tries than any other team.

"If we can keep increasing our set-piece success then we should increase our possession even more," he said.

"All our opposition keep the ball well so we will have to be patient in defence and choose our opportunities to turn over ball carefully."

According to IRB, Fiji has a low rate of passing and of taking the ball into contact, with 76 per cent of their tries scored with three or less passes in the build-up and 85 per cent of tries scored with no tackle, ruck or maul in the build-up

"Of all the teams, they have the highest rate of 'tackle-only' situations (4.3 per game), suggesting that they don't frequently compete at the breakdown, but when they do they are successful in turning over possession.

"However, in terms of looking after their own ball at the tackle/ruck/maul they have the lowest retention rate in the series (72%), showing perhaps why they opt not to go into contact."

In Fiji's loss, 67 per cent have been by a margin of 10 points or less and 50 per cent by five points or less.

Meanwhile the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series title frontrunners New Zealand and South Africa are wary of Fiji.

New Zealand leads the series on 99 points followed by South Africa on 97, Fiji is third with 73 while England lies on fourth spot with 68 points.

"Fiji is a great team and England is playing some good rugby at the moment. I think any of us could (still) win the Series," South African coach Neil Powell told IRB.

New Zealand 7s skipper DJ Forbes said: "With the lead you might predict a two horse race but Fiji could on their day easily win four tournaments in a row.

"But to do that they need to win these two to get back on the horse".

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