Fijians finish in fifth spot

Second day, 1 December, Dubai Sevens 2018 at The Sevens for HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2018, Dubai - UAE - Photos Martin Seras Lima

IT wasn’t the perfect kick-off that everyone expected for the Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team in the first leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai as we finished on fifth spot after losing to the USA in the cup quarter-final 14-24 in the weekend.

Fiji started off well in the first pool game beating France 41-0, but in their second pool match the Scottish gave the Fijians a good run for their money despite losing 19-21 to Fiji.

Changes of game structure and approach from the Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber saw the Series runners-up back in top form thumping Kenya 43-12 in the last pool game.

The second day of the Dubai 7s tournament caught everyone by surprise as the Fiji 7s team lost to USA 24-14, in the main quarter-final but it didn’t stop the fighting spirit for Baber’s boys as they played to face the world sevens series winners South Africa who also bowed out in the quarter-final stages losing England 22-5.

Former Fiji 7s player and France based rep Fero Lasagavibau said the players needed to improve on many areas before the second tournament however he was impressed with the performance of the new players.

“Even though it’s just the first tournament of a new season but we’ve been preparing for this moment like every other team and there’s no excuse to their performance in the quarter-final against the USA,” said Lasagavibau.

“There was a lot of miss tackles during the match and they kept on losing possession and these two factors shouldn’t be in their diary in this elimination stages or even in the game of rugby sevens so they need to work themselves out in those areas.

“However the inclusion of new reps in the line-up has painted a positive image regarding the development of rugby in the country and it’s good to see these players being selected at a young age to represent Fiji before any major tournaments.”

Meanwhile three under-20 reps braved the experienced South African side in sudden death playoffs to win the match after Fiji bowed out of the cup quarter-final against USA 14-24.

Vilimone Botitu, Ratu Meli Derenalagi and speedster Filimoni Tuimaba stood their ground during the sudden-death match against South Africa before Tuimaba crushed their hopes with a kick and chase to score the winning try.

The team moves to South Africa for the second tournament.

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