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Fantastic skills level

Arin Kumar
Friday, April 04, 2014

NATIONAL men's sevens coach Ben Ryan has forecasted a significant growth of sevens rugby among women in the country.

Ryan told after the Tokyo 7s tournament last week he was predicting more women and girls to take up the sport.

Members of the national women's sevens team, among the trailblazers in the code, are in Guangzhou, China, preparing for the Asian leg of the IRB Women's Sevens World Series that begins tomorrow.

Coach Ryan said he was amazed by the skills the women possessed, adding it was almost similar to the men's style.

"Their skill levels are fantastic," Ryan said.

"I have watched some domestic games and their program is so new that I was pretty amazed actually at their core skills.

"And the amazing thing is, when you watch them play, they are playing in the same style as the men's, they are offloading, their evasive skills and that is because they are playing in the villages as well."

He said the main sport for women in the country was netball so the switch would be slow but consistent.

"Netball is big in the country and there is good talent cross-over from that, they are obviously very, very amateur as far as there is no professional league or set-up for the women.

"The fifteens teams doesn't really exist so sevens is where it is going to go, you are going to see a huge acceleration in Fiji women's play I think because more and more girls are starting to play the game in the islands.

"I think as more and more people understand and hear about the women's game there will be more competitions and more opportunities for these girls to be seen and I think the resources are going to be put in place as well for the women's game."

Ryan said he was not expecting the Fijiana to become world champions any time soon but a long-term goal would be more achievable.

"I don't know whether Rio (2016 Olympics) is going to come too fast for them, but certainly by 2020 you will see a very strong Fijiana if things keep carrying on as they are."

The Telecom Fijiana side is in Pool B with Australia, England and Ireland for the China leg.

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