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Fijian impact

Rashneel Kumar In Hong Kong
Friday, March 28, 2014

NEW Zealand 7s coach Gordon Tietjens says the unavailability of the Fijian players had an impact in his team's performance at the Tokyo 7s and their experience will be hugely missed in the Hong Kong 7s this weekend.

The All Blacks 7s recorded the worst finish in the 2013/14 HSBC Sevens World Series after finishing fourth in Japan.

Tietjens said star player Tomasi Cama was crucial in big tournaments like the Hong Kong 7s.

"Obviously when you lose a player like Tomasi Cama, who is at the peak of his game, he's obviously a huge player to replace and obviously it would have been great to have him here but he's out injured and not quite right," the veteran New Zealand 7s coach said.

"And Lote (Raikabula) is probably not playing the way he would love to and Waisake Naholo is injured also, he got a knee injury.

"So two out of the three that have been ruled out, no doubt would have been here and it is for the first time after a long, long time that we haven't had any Fijians in our team."

Tietjens said those players were a "big part of my team moving forward".

He also said there were some other Fijian players in New Zealand he was keeping a tab on for the upcoming series and the 2016 Olympic Games in Brazil

"There are some Fijian boys in New Zealand that I'm actually looking at for the future and their time will come, no doubt.

"I wish our country was like Fiji where they have all the depth in the world in terms of 7s players and the big advantage is they have an understanding of the game which is hugely important."

The Hong Kong 7s kicks off tomorrow and defending champions Fiji's opening pool match will be against Wales at 1.26am on Saturday.

More on PAGE 48,50.

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