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7s Stewart

Sikeli Qounadovu In Dubai
Thursday, November 30, 2017

FIJI Airways 7s coach Gareth Baber has high regard for John Stewart and believes the Naikorokoro, Sanima, Kadavu man's skills and quality is a bonus to the team.

While Baber will be naming his run on team today (Fiji time), he has earmarked Stewart because of his wealth of talent and experience from the full rugby code after earlier playing for the Fiji Airways Drua team in the National Rugby Championship (NRC). The name Stewart, according to Wikipedia, is a Scottish surname meaning guardian or warden.

"Absolutely, I have very high regards for John," Baber said.

"I saw what he did in the NRC and how he captained that side. His experience, his playing skills and what it takes to be an international rugby player are all the qualities needed and that is a bonus for us."

During the scrimmaging session with the Spain national 7s team this week here in Dubai, Stewart was named at rover, partnering his Drua teammate Eroni Sau who ran the flanks.

Baber kept his cards close to his chest yesterday during training, but said the rover's position would be a battle between Stewart and the inform Kalione Nasoko who earned his debut at the same venue last year.

"Potentially John could be shifted to the forwards, but with the boys that we have, I am blessed that we have good quality forwards. I like what Kalione and John bring to the midfield position, especially their control of the ball in their hands and both players are very physical. They bring a good level of quality defence as well, so in the long run, there is an opportunity with John in the forwards. Now we will look at him in the rover and winger's slot.

"I am ready to play in any position," said Stewart.

The coach said four players would battle the halfback position.

"We have four players at the halfback position — Amenoni, Wise, Jerry and Vatemo. It was a matter of just playing a different combination. We are blessed with the quality we have there and the job this weekend is probably where we will get the best out of these players."

During the scrimmaging session Apenisa Cakaubalavu, Josua Koroinabuli and Apisai Domolailai started in the forwards with Waisea Nacuqu, Amenoni Nasilasila, John Stewart and Eroni Sau making up the backline.

His second run-on team saw Mesulame Kunavula, Paula Dranisinukula and Jasa Veremalua coming in the forwards while Jerry Tuwai, Vatemo Ravouvou, Kalione Nasoko and Eroni Sau form the backline.

The Dubai 7s kicks off tomorrow with Fiji playing Russia in its first pool game.

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