Fiji men’s 7s coach Gareth Baber will be treating each game like it is an Olympic final knowing full well that every team that plays against Fiji will have the same outlook as well heading into the encounter.
In their interviews with World Rugby, Japan coach Kensuke Iwabuchi, Canada men’s co-captain Nathan Hirayama, and Great Britain captain Tom Mitchell made clear their intentions and the elements they are banking on to fuel their respective team’s campaign – being the home side, being a newbie in the Olympics arena and the make-up of their teams.
The Olympic Rugby 7s Gold medal holders play twice tomorrow, against hosts Japan at 12midday (Fiji Time) then Canada at 8 pm before taking on Great Britain in their final pool game at 12.30 pm on Tuesday.
“Every game is a final and if we are going to do what we have set to do coming here, we are going to have to win six finals,” Baber said.
“So at nine o’clock (Japan Time) on Monday morning we are going into a final and how we’ve trained and the mental preparation that we’ve got is hugely important for that.”
japan’s Iwabuchi draws inspiration from the performance by their XVs side at the Rugby World Cup 2019 to inspire his team. As hosts of the RWC that year, the Cherry Blossoms stamped their mark in the tournament, topping their Pool A with four from four against Ireland, Scotland, Samoa and Russia. They progressed to the Cup quarterfinals where they lost to the Springboks.
“There is a lot of pressure on the players who play in the Olympics in Tokyo,” Iwabuchi said. “I’m confident that I have selected players who can perform while enjoying the pressure.”
Canada’s Hirayama expressed the same sentiments about his side and particularly in view of this being his first Olympic outing: “It’s an honour to compete for Canada at Tokyo 2020. It’s been an unprecedented year but we’ve been training hard and look forward to competing and showcasing sevens on such a massive stage.”
GB’s Mitchell also spoke highly about his side: “We are working really hard and we have got a great group of boys out here. We’re excited about what we can do.”
Photo: Fiji Rugby