4 July, 2018, 11:12 am
FIJI Airways Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber expects to form a unique blend which opponents have never seen when the side participates at the Rugby World Cup Sevens in the United States from July 20-22.
The 16-member touring squad departed for Utah last night for a two-week camp in preparation for the pinnacle of the abbreviated code.
Warm-up matches have also been lined up for the team as Baber wants to test the best possible combinations before naming his final squad.
Baber said the purpose of the camp was to focus on the speed of the game.
“The warm-up matches will provide quality competition against diverse opponents including a Tongan invitational side, the US Army and other US touring teams”
Baber has rated squad members Eroni Sau, Alasio Naduva and Josua Kurinabili highly.
The trio have had a breakout season with Sau scoring 37 tries in 58 matches, Naduva scoring 24 tries in 40 matches and Kurinabili dotting down 23 times in 60 games.
Baber expects to see their blistering form continue.
“If we can get the blend right, between power and the pace, then we will give our opponents something they haven’t seen before and create opportunities for our scorers to have real impact,” Baber said.
Jasa Veremula and Leone Nakarawa are the only players who have previously played at the world cup. Despite taking 12 world cup debutants, Baber believes the 1509 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series games experience in the Fijian squad means the team is conditioned at performing consistently.
“With world cup’s every four years it is expected that squads will turn over, so lack of world sup experience is not a concern for us,” Baber said. Fiji will face the winner of the match between Japan and Uruguay in the round of 16 of the cup championship. Baber said the narrow pitch at the AT&T Park in San Francisco would favour the hosts.
“USA is a team of pace and physicality and on the narrow pitch at San Francisco, this tournament will play into the hands of teams like them,” he said.
“Which is why, if we get that blend right, we will give ourselves the best shot also”.
New Zealand is the defending 7s world cup champion.
Fiji Airway’s Fiji 7s, Utah preparations camp touring squad: Josua Vakurinabili, Semi Kunatani, Kalione Nasoko, Jasa Veremulua, Paula Dranisinikula, Leone Nakarawa, Apenisa Cakaubalavu, Jerry Tuwai, Waisea Nacuqu, Amenoni Nasilasila, Vatemo Ravouvou, Eroni Sau, Alasio Naduva, Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Josua Tuisova, Semi Radradra.