Sale's Sevens Diary - Mind games
02 December, 2010
|Digicel Fiji 7s team manager, Sale Sorovaki. |
We are here in Dubai and all the teams are staying at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Festival City. I was in Dubai last in 1999 for the inaugural IRB Series and this place has changed immensely.
The Digicel Fiji team is being looked after here by a sports company (Fitness First) and they have really gone out of their way to look after us and making sure that we have everything to help us do well on Friday.
Our Liaison Officer is a Kiwi (Ric Lambert) who has been living in Dubai for 14 years.
We had our first training at the Dubai College grounds and had a hit out against the Kenyans. The game against the Kenyans was to brush away any jetlag we still had after the four hour flight from Sri Lanka.
There is also a British Army regiment here that is playing in the international competition and they were training at the same ground. They have six Fijian boys in their ranks and they were very excited to see us there.
I attended the managers meeting at 7:00 AM and was informed by the referees the various infringements and areas of the game they will be paying particular attention to during the two day tournament. Napolioni Locoloco is also here to referee in the Dubai Tournament.
At 12:00 PM I attended the official press conference and the media were mainly concerned about the other teams. It is good in a way as it does not put any unwanted pressure on us. I was interviewed by a couple of reporters from a local paper and two South African reporters.
As we have a lot of new players in the team, it was easy to say that we are on a rebuilding phase (so to speak). I guess it is important we don’t put too much pressure on ourselves by promising people the world. Just wait for game day.
The reality of playing in the IRB Series is slowly beginning to sink in to most of the new players and I know that they will all be raring to run onto that field come Friday. All the hard work has been done. The only thing left is the kick off against Portugal on Friday, which is also the first game of the tournament.
The Samoans look really strong, so does England with Ben Gollings at the helm. New Zealand have DJ Forbes, Tom Cama and Lote Raikabula along with six new players.
New Zealand coach Gordon Tietjens is saying he thinks Fiji is still the team to beat. That’s funny, coming from a team that’s just won the Commonwealth Games gold medal in Delhi; and have won the IRB Series eight times since its inception in 1999 - playing mind games and trying to shift the focus on us...no thank you.
The boys watched a DVD on Law Variations and what the referees will be monitoring. While morale is high the boys are being continually reminded of the importance of the task at hand and to never lose focus on why they are here.
Until next time - moce mada. View latest photos of the Digicel Fiji team in Dubai. Related articles:
Sale's Sevens Diary - Dubai here we come
Sale's Sevens Diary - Champions again
Related gallery: Digicel Fiji 7s trials - October 19, 2010