29 March, 2018, 12:00 am
THE Fiji Rugby Union, unlike other nations playing in the Commonwealth Games and the 2017/2018 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, will fight to retain the Hong Kong 7s title and win gold medal at Gold Coast in Australia.
By doing so, Fiji Airways Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber yesterday named a 16-member squad that will leave today for Hong Kong.
It is the first time since he joined FRU that Baber has named a big squad. It is to cover for HK 7s and the Gold Coast games.
“We are taking 16 and 13 will go to the Gold Coast,” Baber said after a scrimmaging session under wet conditions against former national 7s captain Sireli Bobo’s Providers 7s team at the Uprising Beach Resort ground at Pacific Harbour yesterday.
“When it comes to the Commonwealth Games, we have limited ability to change the squad because of harder and stricter rules on who you can bring and who can’t. So, the 16 boys include the Commonwealth Games and if we take injuries in Hong Kong, obviously the players are with us already.”
The squad has France-based Semi Kunatani who is expected to join them in Hong Kong, Jasa Veremalua, Josua Vakurinabili, Paula Dranisinukula, Kalione Nasoko, Jerry Tuwai, Vatemo Ravouvou, Amenoni Nasilasila, Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Mesulame Kunavula, Eroni Sau, Alasio Naduva, Samisoni Viriviri, Isake Katonibau, Apenisa Cakaubalavu, Waisea Nacuqu.
Meanwhile, skipper Tuwai, Kunavula, Ravouvou, Sau, and Veremalua did not attend the session yesterday.
“Training has been good and everyone is up to par. There is a flu affecting some players such as Jerry and Mesu who are down. Sevu was sick, but recovered and trained today (yesterday) while Jerry and Mesu are still in bed. We are ahead of time and hopefully they will be fine before leaving on Thursday (today) to get to Hong Kong and have four days to give us enough time to be able to focus and prepare in what is going to be a big two weeks.
“Vatemo and Sau trained this morning and are around and Jasa as well.
“We are arranging Kunatani’s flight and he will join us in Hong Kong.”
Baber said late replacements Isake Katonibau and Samisoni Viriviri had both responded well during training.