Gareth Baber is looking for repeat individual efforts, accuracy of skills and decision making under pressure as his 16 players vie for a place in the Fiji Airways Men’s 7s team for the Rugby World Cup Sevens.
The Utah based squad are 5 days into their intensive preparations and Baber is already seeing positive returns out of the unique training environment.
Scrimmaging against teams from the Utah Open State Sevens Tournament on Friday, then a tournament All-Star team on Saturday, the Fijian Head Coach says his team had to overcome some obstacles as they fought through stress and fatigue.
“We were fresher on the Friday and created more opportunities, but I was pleased to see how the boys kept working hard and standing up” he said.
“The All Stars Team posed some good questions of us, that we had to work through and find solutions”
Coach Baber is using the match play simulations to finesse structures and systems as well as putting his men through some good game time under stress and fatigue, with the purpose of finding the ‘edge’ to take in San Francisco next week.
“I want to see who stands up, who is consistent in their individual efforts off the ball and who will keep working to come up with solutions under stress and fatigue”
As the players continue to prepare with their eyes on selection in that 12, every minute spent at their 7,000ft altitude training base is providing an edge most have never previously experienced.
“When we first arrived, we certainly felt the impact of the altitude” said Baber
“There was obvious some initial stress on the body that the boys had never felt before, and it took a day to get through that, but after then you plateau and get used to it.”
“The idea is that we put ourselves under stress to execute with quality up here, then when we get back to sea level, we should see the enhancements.”
The Fiji Airways Men’s 7s will remain at the Utah training base until the end of the week, before flying in to San Francisco next Sunday.