New Look Fiji team hopes to erase memories

A new look Fiji rugby sevens team will set out for Dubai this weekend, aiming to erase the memory of the shock quarter-final loss to Wales which cost them the IRB Sevens title earlier this year.


Sevens wizard Waisale Serevi will be missing as player coach in the latest IRB series, signalling a new era for Fiji.

He resigned in July in the wake of the shock loss to Wales at Murrayfield in Scotland, the final of the eight tournament series.

Fiji needed only that quarter-final win against Wales to retain its IRB title, but the 21-14 loss allowed New Zealand to overtake them at the final hurdle.

Seven of the 12-man Fiji squad are making their debut for the national team in Dubai but new coach Joe Savou says a stronger emphasis on defence should ensure the team remains a sevens force this year.

“Defence will be the key and is always our weakness which is why we have worked hard at it these past few days,” Savou said.

Though the team is smaller than those of recent years, Savou says they have done “the hard yards” in training and won’t let their country down.

Along with the loss of Serevi, who has been the world’s most famous sevens player since taking the Hong Kong tournament by storm in 1989, some other familiar faces are missing.

These include fleet-footed star William Ryder, Semisi Naevo, Lepani Nabuliwaqa, and Sireli Naqelevuki.

The Fijians have made a late change to their squad after lanky forward Isei Lewaqai was felled by chicken pox, giving an opportunity to fellow newcomer Rupeni Nasiga.

Captain Etonia Naba is the only surviving specialist forward from last season.

The return of old-hand Neumi Nanuku will provide some solidity to the midfield attack in the absence of Ryder and Nabuliwaqa.

Exciting backs include new centre Vereniki Goneva and Saimoni Nuku who will provide a good platform for South African based winger Akuila Nawerecagi, who made his debut in 2006.

Fiji squad Forwards: Viliame Maya, Etonia Naba (captain), Rupeni Nasiga, Iliesa Ratuva, Epeli Vuniwaqa.

Backs: Setefano Cakau, Vereniki Goneva, Tomasi Mawi, Akuila Nawerecagi, Neumi Nanuku, Saimoni Nuku, Emosi Vucago.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

By continuing to use the site, you agree to the use of cookies. more information

The cookie settings on this website are set to "allow cookies" to give you the best browsing experience possible. If you continue to use this website without changing your cookie settings or you click "Accept" below then you are consenting to this.