Veidreyaki bets on Fiji 7s

The Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team after the captains run at Causaway Bay Sports ground yesterday. Picture: RAMA

The Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team in Hong Kong. Formers 7s coach Peni Veidreyaki believes Fiji 7s can win the Singapore 7s this weekend. Picture: RAMA

FORMER national 7s coach Peni Veidreyaki says Fiji can win the Singapore 7s this weekend. The Lautoka-based coach said Gareth Baber and his men had the upper hand after a week’s rest.

“That’s enough recovery time to bounce back to winning ways,” Veidreyaki said. “The team must be commended for creating history in Hong Kong and I would have loved to see them finishing that tour winning the Commonwealth Games gold medal in rugby. The players worked hard, but the odds were against us. “We were lucky to have gone past South Africa because I could tell that the boys were tired. They did their best and we won a silver medal and they are on the road again. “They will win because this team has been consistent and the composition of players selected has some of the best skills that some other teams only dream of.”

He said the inclusion of Isake Katonibau and Keponi Paul would keep the opposition guessing on the style of play Fiji would now use. “Katonibau is a natural leader. He can organise and lead on the field. He does some things that only few players can execute on the field. Keponi is unknown and Baber will use that to our advantage because this guy is packed with speed and power. “I am confident that we will win because this is again one of the best teams to leave our country,” Veidreyaki added.

Meanwhile media reports in Singapore yesterday highlighted that the tournament this weekend could be “anyone’s game.” The Strait Times reported that New Zealand is the favourite after the Commonwealth Games gold medal win against the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team. Kenya won in 2016 and Canada last year. NZ coach Clark Laidlaw said the focus now was to win in Singapore. “Some people might think it’s a surprise (Commonwealth Games win), but for us, it’s not necessarily a surprise any more.

On the circuit, one of 10 teams could win –– who knows who’ll win this weekend,” he said. “Maybe it’ll be a surprise if we won, because we’ve never done it before. Hopefully our preparation puts us in good stead for the weekend, and we get through our group, then come back on the second day and stay consistent.” Singapore is the eighth tournament in the series. The Paris 7s follows on May 26-27 and London 7s from June 2-3. South Africa leads the series with 126 points, Fiji is three points behind. New Zealand is third with 107 points. Fiji team: Mesulame Kunavula, Josua Vakurinabili, Isake Katonibau, Keponi Paul, Kalione Nasoko, Paula Dranisinukula, Jerry Tuwai, Waisea Nacuqu, Amenoni Nasilasila, Vatemo Ravouvou, Eroni Sau, Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Alasio Naduva.

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