Fijiana target Aussies

Members of the Fijiana team loading their travel gear on Thursday last week. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

Members of the Fijiana team loading their travel gear on Thursday last week. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

THE Fijiana 7s team sets its own history in Australia this week by competing in the 2018 Commonwealth Games for the first time.

The south sea islanders, coached by former local Fiji secondary schools sprinter Iliesa Tanivula, want to set a record on debut by stopping the hosts and Olympic Games champion Australia.

“This is the first time for the Fijiana 7s team to take part in the Commonwealth Games,” Tanivula said as the team departed Fiji last Thursday night amid light showers.

Fijians believe traditional ceremonies of importance that take place under such conditions bring good fortunes.

“This is history itself and we are going to go in and do our best. Our preparations were intense because we are going to meet tough opposition. We have the right mind-set to compete well and hopefully get on the podium.

“Our pool opponents are Australia, England and Wales. They are tough and we have to take each game at a time.

“We are going to assess our opponents, especially Australia and the way they have been playing. They are the best. They lead the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series and are the Olympic Games champion. They have set the standard and this is the benchmark for us.

“That does not stop us from going there to compete. Our opposition are all good rugby nations, so we have to get in there with the right mind-set and compete well.”

Pool A has New Zealand, Canada, South Africa and Kenya. Fiji is the second seeded team in Pool B against Australia, England and Wales.

The teams that are ranked third and fourth in each pool advance to classification rounds to determine the placing for fifth to eighth in the competition. The top two ranked teams from each pool advance to the semi-finals.

The Fijiana play two games on April 13 — versus England and Wales and against Australia (night game) the following day.

Fijiana: Ana Roqica (Captain), Litia Naiqato, Rusila Nagasau, Vasiti Solikoviti, Miriama Naiobasali, Timaima Ravisa, Viniana Riwai, Pricilla Siata, Lavena Cavuru, Lavenia Tinai, Ana Naimasi and Mereula Torooti, Elenoa Naimata (13th player).

Australia: Charlotte Caslick, Emilee Cherry, Dominique Du Toit, Georgina Friedrichs, Ellia Green, Demi Hayes, Shannon Parry (Cpt), Evania Pelite, Alicia Quirk, Cassandra Staples, Emma Sykes, Emma Tonegato, Sharni Williams.

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