Slow start for Fiji 7s team

Kula Young Boys Tavua player Ovini Nakautoga gets support from Seremaia Nakala during their match against Wardens Gold in the Duavata 7s tournament at the Ra Sports ground yesterday. Picture: REINAL CHAND

The players in the wider Fiji 7s squad have been given a chance to impress at the Duavata 7s tournament in Rakiraki this weekend before the national squad for the HSBC Los Angeles 7s is announced next week.

The Fiji 7s team made a slow start in the opening round of the tournament at the Ra Sports Ground yesterday defeating Bila Young Boys Vuda 29-12 after only scoring two tries in the first-half.

The Fiji 7s team included Josefa Talacolo, Tira Patterson, Savenaca Rawaca, Pilipo Bukayaro, Napolioni Bolaca, Manueli Maisamoa, Iowane Teba, Paula Dranisinukula, Josevani Soro, Iosefo Masi, Iowane Raturaciri and Viwa Naduvalo. Coach Ben Gollings said they just got off the bus and ran onto the paddock for the first game. He said the end the result was fine.

“Sometimes you are told that the match is a long time away, but then it is not so long, so it was an eye opener for us,” Gollings said.

“It was a bit of a warm-up for us in the tournament. There is a different mix with how we picked the squad for this tournament.

“They did the job which is the key, but going forward, we want to see things tighten up and get back to the performances we are looking for.”

The Los Angeles 7s is the final event of the 2022 HSBC World Rugby 7s Series.

The tournament is scheduled to be played from August 27-28. South Africa leads the series with 124 points followed by Australia with 122 points, Argentina with 118 points, Fiji with 104 points and Ireland with 92 points.

Gollings said the training squad had been back in camp only briefly.

“Obviously there is a short turnaround from the Commonwealth Games,” he said.

“We have got this tournament this weekend which is great. It is an opportunity for us to see some of the players from the wider squad play. “We will select the squad going to LA next week.”

Meanwhile, Police Rugby, one of the favourites for the title went down to Duibana from Sorokoba 12-19 in their second group game.

Day two matches will begin at 8am today.

The main final is expected to kick off at 5pm. Results: Deans Vatukoro 14-7 Waimaro, Caucau 14-15 Soqe Damu Rugby, Cooling Down Lau 12-5 AJ Pallet Ba Two, Uprising Waterfall 5-19 Nasonini VTK, Veilomani 0-5 Nasonini Babas, Fire 12-7 Tavua Sharks, Bila Y/Boys Tavua 0-14 New Wave Mataso, Police Rugby 36-0 Veilomani Two, AJ Pallet Ba River 19-0 Veilomani 2, Jussy Buinivai 10-7 Teri Brothers, LV Stingray 14-14 Wadidi Salvo, Bila Y/Boys Vuda 12-12 Maravu Taveuni, Waimaro 12-5 Soqe Damu Rugby, Korolevu 14-12 Cooling Down Lau, AJ Pallet Ba River Two 7-17 Nasonini VTK, Wailoa Rugby 0-14 Veilomani One, Nasonini Babas 0-14 Tavua Sharks, Warden Gold 12-0 Bila Y/Boys Tavua.

Meanwhile, the objective of the tournament is to help develop rugby in the province.

A total of 40 teams are competing. The Fiji 7s team along with Warden Gold, Police Blue and Wadigi Salvo are the favourites for the winner’s purse of $3000. Westfield Babas a former champion 7s team from Nadi is making a comeback in the tournament. Duavata 7s co-ordinator Vetaia Koro said Japan which was in the country to train, had pulled out. “There is a Fellow Fijians category as well,” he said.

“The runner-up of the men’s division will receive $1000. “The objective of hosting this 7s tournament is to help develop the men’s and women’s rugby in our community and the province of Ra.

“This will give our teams a chance to showcase their hidden talents. To play against members of the Fiji team is something special for them.”

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