Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team was crowned the PacificAus Sports Oceania 7s champions after remaining undefeated and urging All Black 7s 17-7 in their final match in Townsville.
Coach Gareth Baber reshuffled his players during the three-day competition and named a mixture of experience and young players for their final match against New Zealand.
Fiji started the match with a bang, outpacing their opponents. After a few phases, Sireli Maqala beautifully broke the New Zealand defense allowing Iosefo Masi dive in for their first try.
Juita Wainiqolo scored second try to make it 12-0 before going for a breather.
Vilimoni Botitu and Aminiasi Tuimaba were also given the opportunity to play in the second half.
Fijian 7s continued to mount pressure on their opponent and after some amazing passing and offloads Masi ran in for his second try.
New Zealand’s consolation try by Kurt Baker was not enough as Fiji Airways Fijian 7s were crowned the Oceania 7s champions.
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s Coach Gareth Baber is impressed with the national teams’ performance but has mentioned that there are areas which they need to work on ahead of the Tokyo Olympic Games next month.
“We are in a good spot, we played some good game but we have been ordinary on times but we scored a good bag of tries which is what we always after.
We will continue to work on our shapes and qualities in defense.”
He added “Its first time we have been in an international competition, some 15 months, so I’m pleased with the level we are at, I’m also pleased with the intensity we bring to the game, we still got a little bit of more work to do physically and keeping ourselves with that mental battle we get in the game but overall it has been a good outing.”
Performance of New Players
Baber added that a few players such as Sireli Maqala, Iosefo Masi, and Jiuta Wainiqolo put up an outstanding show over the weekend.
“They have really put their hands up for selection. They working their socks off, they are diligent about the way they go about their work and they show it on the field.
I’m pleased across the board, the players have worked hard and worked for each other” he said.
Baber further added that there are a few injuries which his medical team is working on.
He said Kalione Nasoko had a dislocated shoulder and it was successfully put in place.
“He would have played today but I didn’t feel the necessity to push him at this stage. Asaeli Tuivuaka has got a concussion.
We are trying to get his head up the way he tackles but he tent on leading with his hands most of the time but he will be ok. He will go through protocols to get back to training” said Baber.