Fiji Time: 7:52 PM on Tuesday 23 January

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Rugby challenge

Pravin Narain
Sunday, January 14, 2018

FORMER Flying Fijian Seremaia Bai predicts a tough Uprising Youth 7s tournament next Wednesday for his Rugby Academy Fiji teams.

The two-day tournament is the curtain-raiser to the 2018 Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast Sevens at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka.

Bai is coaching two teams in the competition to play in the annual tournament.

"I am happy with the preparations," Bai said.

The Fiji former international flyhalf said his sides did not have preparation time on their side because of the school holidays compared with other teams.

He had been conducting training sessions to get his players up to speed.

"The players had gone through some hard training.

"It will be a tough competition and there are a lot of teams from villages who had a lot of time to prepare."

His Rugby Academy Fiji 1 is pooled with Pacific Island Air Yasawa Youth, Ravuka Sharks and Davetalevu in Pool C. Rugby Academy Fiji 2 will battle with King 7s Select, Skylink Natabua Beez and Dratabu in Pool A.

"We want the players to stay with us and our goal is to develop them and help them secure overseas contracts or if they could play in the under-20 teams.

"It will be good for them and their rugby," he said.

"Everybody knows that it is not easy to get into clubs and get contracts, but at least we have set a pathway to help them.

"We will be fielding one team in the under-18 and U19 while the other team will consist of players who do not have any schools or clubs to play in, so we gave them an opportunity to get exposed in a big tournament such as the Fiji Coral Coast Sevens."

The tournament starts next Wednesday with the Uprising Youth 7s, Thursday is the Crest Na Iri Women's 7s and Friday the men's Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast 7s. The main final will be on Saturday.

Meanwhile, tournament ambassador and former New Zealand 7s skipper, DJ Forbes arrives at the Nadi International Airport at 4pm tomorrow.

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