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Fiji Time: 1:56 PM on Saturday 19 April

/ Front page / Editorial Comment

7s nurturing process

Fred Wesley
Saturday, April 19, 2014

National sevens forward Apisai Domolailai will undoubtedly have fond memories of his 25th birthday.

The lanky loose forward was named by national coach Ben Ryan in the team to represent us at the Scotland 7s and the London 7s early next month.

Domolailai was caught off guard when he was given a surprise birthday reception by staff of The Pearl South Pacific Resort during the Fiji 7s team naming at Pacific Harbour on Thursday.

It obviously made his day extra special, and is certainly one that will not be easy to forget.

The recall of forwards Viliame Mata and Semi Kunatani, alongside Wardens speedster Leo Naikasau is a reflection of how Ryan wants to meet the challenges on offer in these remaining legs of the IRB Sevens World Series.

Ryan said Naikasau, Kunatani and Mata proved their worth to reclaim their spots in the national side.

He has made no bones about his commitment to picking players on form.

The recent Nawaka 7s, he revealed, provided him an opportunity to relook at the form of players in the national squad.

He wants consistency and fighting spirit upfront.

Unlike our effort last season, Ryan has maintained a core group of players.

Fiji's campaign has revolved around the likes of towering Pio Tuwai upfront along with Benito Masilevu, the halves combination of Emosi Mulevoro and Osea Kolinisau and rover Donasio Ratubuli with Samison Viriviri out on the flanks.

Ryan has also opted to nurture youngsters like Vatemo Ravouvou and Waisea Nacuqu as our second halves combination.

Considering our victory in Dubai and in Japan, Ryan's campaign has been impressive.

He has slowly gained the trust and confidence of many Fiji fans. The decision to include the likes of Mata and Kunatani could even serve as inspiration for aspiring players eager to attract Ryan's attention.

It clearly is a reflection of his commitment to nurturing players and identifying the best among thousands of good Fijian ruggers.

It is certainly encouraging to know that we have a national coach who will go to any length to be a key part of the identification process and nurturing of potential national representatives.

It is encouraging to see a culture of acceptance among fans, and general ownership of the national side with Ryan's organised training sessions in grounds outside the Capital City. This is our best available side.

They will need our support as we prepare for the assault on Scotland and London next month.

Go Fiji, go.