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Lose: Fiji is in the right mood for Hong Kong 7s

Rashneel Kumar In Hong Kong
Friday, March 28, 2014

PROMINENT International Rugby Board commentator Willie Lose says when the Fijians start enjoying their rugby, there is no stopping them.

And the former Tongan skipper said he noticed that change in the Vodafone Fiji 7s side in the Tokyo 7s last weekend.

The Ben Ryan-coached side defeated South Africa 33-28 to hoist its first ever Tokyo 7s title in Japan on Sunday.

Lose believes Fiji is in the right mood for the Hong Kong 7s and reckons they will be the side to beat this weekend.

"I think that we now starting to see the Fijian team embracing the changes that Ben Ryan has made," he told Time Sport.

"More importantly, enjoying their rugby which I think is the best, best change that I have seen.

"They are now starting to really enjoy it and there is no better side on the planet when they start to enjoy rugby than Fiji."

Fiji has never won back-to-back tournaments in the HSBC Sevens World Series, and the team hopes to break the duck at the Hong Kong Stadium in So Kon Po this weekend.

Lose said the feat was possible only if Fiji stayed injury-free.

"I think it's a big ask. It really depends on the depth of the squad, just how much you got on the reserve.

"I know the whole island of Fiji will get up and look forward to Hong Kong 7s. So can they do it? They can if they stay injury-free.

"Their top players don't get too many injuries but as we know in sports anything can happen over those three days."

Coach Ryan said the team was fit but not at the level he would have liked. However, he said the inclusion of Joeli Lutumailagi and Samu Saqiwa would boost the side's fitness level.

"I think they are fit enough to play international finals. They are not as fit as I would like them to be and they will be next year because we haven't had that pre-season," Ryan said.

"But they are in good shape, it's good to have two fresh guys as well. If you look at it, players like Vatemo (Ravouvou) and Wise (Nacuqu) didn't play huge amounts either, so half the squad had got plenty of freshness in their legs and most of the teams are going to have a similar situation.

"South Africa and New Zealand, are they fitter than us? They might be fractionally but in a game against each other, I don't think Fiji will lose out because of fitness."


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