Editorial comment: Our countdown starts

World Rugby has announced the new season of the World Rugby Sevens Series where Fiji is regarded as the best drawcard. Picture: FT FILE

The national sevens side has now officially started the final countdown for the assault on the Rugby World Cup Sevens title.

Yesterday national coach Gareth Baber named a power-packed side. He has included six of our gold medal winning side to the Olympic Games in Rio de Janerio in 2016.

He’s included strong France-based centre Semi Radradra as well.

We will not be lacking in speed either because we have fleet-footed gasman Alasio Naduva.

The dropping of a number of big names such as powerful tackler Eroni Sau and forward Josua Vakurunabili is a reflection of the depth in the final squad. It should speak highly of the make-up of the final team.

It obviously hasn’t been an easy task for Baber to name his final squad.

That was always going to be the case anyway. What has been a standout feature of Baber’s campaign this season has been the team’s consistency over the various legs of the annual sevens circuit.

Winning back to back tournaments isn’t an easy thing to do considering the shortened recovery time, specialised diets and training systems employed by the top teams.

Better resourced, they have been a thorn on our side throughout the season.

To come clean against such top opposition is a significant reflection of the calibre of coaching, and commitment, enthusiasm and dedication on the part of our players.

This has not been lost on fans this season.

We won the tournaments that mattered to Fijians this season, in Hamilton, Vancouver, Hong Kong, Singapore and London.

We lost the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series title to South Africa, and we lost the Commonwealth Games 7s title to New Zealand.

However, when it truly mattered, at the top stage of the abbreviated version of the sport, at the Olympic Games in 2016, we delivered.

Now we are counting down to the world cup this weekend in San Francisco. Expectations are quite high.

There’s a high level of anticipation in the air. We have the makings of a top notch squad. We have height, weight, speed, balance throughout the team, a tested combination, heaps of talent and skill, coupled with a very physical edge that is almost frightening.

Aside from sticking to Baber’s game plan for the world cup assault, the team needs us — the eighth man — to inspire them to reach out for the stars and to live their dreams. Go Fiji, go.

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