New caps likely for Dubai

Fiji Airways Fiji Sevens squad Elia Canakaivata runs the ball during training at Bidesi ground yesterday.Picture: ATU RASEA

THE Fiji Airways Fiji 7s squad is expected to have some new faces for the start of the 2018-2019 World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai.

In the 18-member training squad, seven new players continue to impress coach Gareth Baber. They are Napolioni Ratu, Filimoni Botitu, Ilikena Vuduolo and Beniamino Vota.

Veterans Kalione Nasoko, Jerry Tuwai, Amenoni Nasilasila, Vatemo Ravouvou, Waisea Nacuqu, Sevuloni Moceinacagi, Josua Vakurinabili, Apenisa Cakaunitabua, Alasio Naduva, Terry Tamani and Mesulame Kunavula are the survivors from the past season.

Baber said the new players had been competitive during training sessions.

“We have trimmed the squad based on performance during training sessions and we will name 13 players to Dubai this week,” Baber said.

“Some new players will possibly make it into the final 13.”

The team camped in Nadi last week and faced setbacks with injuries and viruses that affected some players.

“We’ve got a couple of injuries and viruses going on last week, but we’re going to trim down the side to 15 before we leave for Dubai on Friday.”

During yesterday’s training session at Bidesi Ground in Suva, Nasoko, Cakaubalavu and Vakurinabili had a recovery session.

“It’s race against time for Josua after he sprained his ankle and sometimes it can recover quickly and sometimes it takes a bit longer and hopefully we’ll see how it goes for the next day or two,” said Baber.

The team departs on Friday.

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