French test in Dubai

Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team captain Kalione Nasoko with captains of some teams that will be playing in this weekends Dubai 7s. The Dubai Sevens 2018 will be played at The Sevens in Dubai Picture: MARTINS ERAS LIMA

FIJI Airways Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber said his players had progressed during their training and the biggest challenge was to retain their focus when they play France in their opening game in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series tournament in Dubai today.

“In our team meetings I linked towards the expectation on what we have to be mindful of going in to tournaments and working on strategies for the players to be able to create focus and attention,” he said.

“So the players are healthy and fit, I’ve pushed them all the way, sort of keeping them on their toes. “I was pleased with how we reacted towards the USA tackle and how quick we got in there and turned the ball over and also how we went on and broke up the opposition.

“USA came in with a structured way of play and had some electric pace and we managed it quite well. We scored a couple of tries and we sort of beat everybody to it but they were huge threats that I was concerned with and I was pleased where we pushed our game up with the likes of Waisea Nacuqu, Amenoni Nasilasila and Jerry Tuwai going in and breaking the opposition pulling them out of position and then created space for others to hit holes and create advantage on the game.

“That is something that we will look into this weekend and sort of balance it so it’s a strike between the pace, the power and obviously the skill that we have.”

Baber rated the new players such as Filimoni Tuimaba.

“I spoke to him earlier this week we want him to be like soccer number nine as they are poachers for goal and I want him to be a finisher like Alasio Naduva does on the field and that was exactly what Tuimaba did which is great.

“Beniamino Vota is a warhorse he gets around the field; he makes tackles, carries well, hard and powerful.

“Filimoni Botitu carries on where he left off during the Oceania 7s getting a good distribution; he reads the game very well, he’s good at setting other people up and putting them on space.

“Ratu Meli Derelanagi is getting on with his work, a bit of learning there to do, it’s slightly different in 15s where back row can follow the ball but as for 7s you have to stay in the system and that will be one of his learnings.

“I am pleased with the way they are focused on the jobs they have to do and making sure they are putting in their best performance.”

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