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Baber braces for 'tough' 7s season

Shayal Devi
Thursday, September 14, 2017

THE upcoming 7s series is billed to be one of the toughest, says Vodafone Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber.

The season includes the 2017 - 2018 HSBC World Sevens Series, the Commonwealth Games at Gold Coast, Australia on April 14-15, and the Rugby World Cup Sevens at San Francisco, US on July 20-22.

Baber, during the national squad's training in Sigatoka yesterday said: "The series becomes more difficult because there is a world cup and Commonwealth Games in the middle of it".

"It's more competitions and we're all fighting to ensure we keep players healthy and staff motivated and get wins.

"It will be tough because everyone is trying to vie for the top spots and want to win the HSBC Sevens Series, Commonwealth and world cup, so how do we go about planning that?

"That is obviously our little secret. Every team will be the same and it will be tough.

"There are some good teams in there at the moment. South Africa proved themselves last year, England did very well and New Zealand, Australia, USA and ourselves, you know, pushing up, so it's our ambition to win every game we play in and getting the plan right to make sure that it happens is a difficult one."

Twenty eight players were part of the training session at Lawaqa Park yesterday including national reps Isake Katonibau, Apisai Domolailai, Jasa Veremalua, Sevuloni Mocenacagi Mesulame Kunavula and sprint king Banuve Tabakaucoro.

For the national coach, the biggest factor in terms of selection is mental toughness.

"People question what that is, but it is the ability to make a lifestyle choice of being a fulltime player.

"That means you look after yourself at all times and every time you are on the field or in a training venue, you're doing your utmost to make sure you develop and add value to everything we do. So, the attitude, it is no secret that it is the biggest thing."

Baber is working on strength and running transitions.

"This is to get them to where they need to be and then we'll start dropping them into competitions and tournaments and playing among ourselves here.

"We are making that change from just training for the sake of training, which can get quite boring, and the boys love playing.

"It's getting them back into that and the beauty of being in Fiji is that we have access to tournaments everywhere and the players want to play all the time. I know that's where they get the biggest jumps in their performance levels, but for me, we need to have that base in terms of strength and running volumes and that's what they're sort of going through at the moment before we get back into the tournament."

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