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Sevens change

Emoni Narawa
Friday, September 05, 2014

ROBUST Naitasiri flyer Apisai Naqaliva is another speedster Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Ben Ryan is looking at as his option at hooker in the upcoming HSBC Sevens World Series.

Naqaliva, a former Suva utility backline player is one of the 30 players gunning to book a spot in Ryan's 12-member team to the Australian 7s tournament at the Gold Coast next month.

Equipped with strength, speed, size and off-loading skills, the youngster who recently returned from Sri Lanka, has impressed not only Ryan but Flying Fijians head coach John McKee.

This week, Naqaliva trained for the first time under the watchful eyes of Ryan who said the speedster had a lot to offer.

"I was impressed watching him on video in Sri Lanka last year," Ryan said.

"John McKee watched him last week in the interior and was impressed with his performance.

"He is big and strong and is very good off-loading, his fitness is not bad."

The former Police winger who hails from Naitasiri weighs 95kilograms. Naqaliva featured for the Capital City side in the provincial competition last year before heading to Sri Lanka.

Known for transforming wingers into hookers in the past like what he did with Benito Masilevu and Leo Naikasau, Ryan says he is looking at Naqaliva as a hooker, winger or a rover.

"Probably he can play wing, rover and hooker. You know all teams I coach, I want a quick hooker like Benito, that type of players like Setefano Cakau, Leo Naikasau," Ryan said.

"So players like him (Naqaliva) and Nasoni Roko, I'm looking at them as more of a hooker knowing they can also play wing or rover."

Yesterday, the players dispersed from camp.

Ryan will name two teams next week to feature at the Ovalau 7s tournament on September 19-20.

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