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Fiji Time: 1:33 PM on Saturday 23 August

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Rule change

Rashneel Kumar In Hong Kong
Thursday, March 27, 2014

THE Vodafone Fiji 7s team will not be affected by the modified rule in the Hong Kong 7s tournament this weekend.

At a coaches meeting yesterday, it was agreed that when a player with the ball goes to the ground after being tackled, he cannot roll away.

South Africa and England have more recently been practising that.

Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan said while the national players also practised a similar technique, the side would not be affected because it hardly takes the ball into contact.

According to the International Rugby Board statistics, Fiji has a low rate of taking the ball into contact.

Given Fiji's lowest retention rate in the series in terms of looking after their own ball at the tackle/ruck/maul, the team has avoided going into contact.

However Ryan said they would be ready to adapt to the changes before the opening pool clash against Wales at 1.26am on Saturday.

"There are things that happen on the hoof so I'm sure everybody is on the same boat," he said.

New Zealand 7s coach Gordon Tietjens said his side had been working on that area since the Wellington 7s.

"Because that is in the rule book, we made huge adjustments before the tournament in Wellington where we didn't let the players roll away and all players adjusted at the last minute so the new rule about no rolling and also tackle ball, I think we can all adjust to that," the veteran 7s coach said.

"It's the same for everyone, it's just how quickly you make the adjustment which is very important."

HSBC Sevens World Series leaders South Africa mentor Neil Powell said they could not afford to go against the rule.

"You have to adapt. If you don't, you get penalised so there is nothing we can do about it.

"We spoke about it in the meeting. We all got to a conclusion that's how it's going to be refereed so we have to adapt and play according to the rule."

Meanwhile, the Osea Kolinisau-skippered side rested yesterday and will have its final training session today.

Ryan confirmed Benito Masilevu was well and ready for the tournament.

Fiji will play Sri Lanka at 5.24pm and Kenya at 11.16pm on Saturday in its final pool match.


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