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Our Dubai challenge

Fred Wesley
Friday, December 01, 2017

Our new team manager Mark Drown reckons we have the potential to win the Dubai 7s this weekend.

He was pretty confident as the national side continued preparations in Dubai ahead of the annual event which kick starts the 2017/18 World Rugby Sevens Series.

We are scheduled to play Australia, Wales, and Russia in our pool matches.

Earlier in the week, Drown said it was important for the players to get acclimatised to the Dubai weather.

The weather has been averaging around 25 degrees with light winds and low humidity.

He reckons players needed to stay hydrated, get adequate rest, proper nutrition and are kept in a positive state of mind.

We play Russia at 7.06pm today before taking on Wales at 10.06pm.

We then play Australia at 4.06am tomorrow which could be the decider for the top of the pool clash.

Mr Drown reckons we have an experienced side in terms of maturity and capability.

"(National coach Gareth) Baber has a nice balance of seasoned veterans and up and coming players who have a very nice chemistry under captain Tuwai. The solid performance in the semi-finals and final of the Oceania Cup is an indicator of what these players are capable of and we look forward to a solid performance in the weeks to come," he said.

Fans will be looking forward to today.

Following our dismal effort in the last season of the series, fans will be hoping to see some change.

The challenge is now firmly on Baber to deliver this weekend.

The recent form of the Fiji Bati at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup lifted spirits and inched out a great sense of patriotism. Fijian fans the world over will be looking to the 7s team to continue that.

We head into the Dubai 7s without the services of a number of experienced payers such as former skipper Osea Kolinisau, Samisoni Viriviri, Savenaca Rawaca, Joeli Lutumailagi, Sevuloni Mocenacagi and Nemani Nagusa to name a few.

In their place though are youngsters eager to live up to expectations and showcase their skills at the highest level of the sport.

Old hands such as skipper Jerry Tuwai, forwards Api Domolailai and Jasa Veremalua, and Vatemo Ravouvou add experience to the side this weekend.

This weekend isn't going to be a stroll in the park. We face strong teams that are keen to topple the current Olympics champion.

But this is the national side.

We are renowned for being unpredictable.

It is when people least expect it that Fijians come out of their shell and deliver mesmerising performances. That is when the flair and magic of Fijian sevens come to the fore. That's when television commentators are left pulling out superlatives to describe us.

Now that's why Fijian sevens rugby is special, and surely that should be one reason we all love this game.

Go Fiji, go.

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