Fiji Rugby finalises 7s teams for Tokyo Olympics

Fiji 7s coaches Gareth Baber and Saiasi Fuli have named their 12-member men’s and women’s teams to the Tokyo Olympics in less than three weeks’ time.

Olympians Jerry Tuwai and Rusila Nagasau will captain the men and Fijiana respectively.

The two coaches finalised their picks following last week’s Oceania 7s tournament. Fiji had won the men’s title whilst the Fijiana finished third with three wins, one of which over reigning women 7s Olympic champions Australia.

  • Men’s Team:
    •  Kalione Nasoko
    • Josua Vakurinabili
    • Meli Derenalagi
    • Iosefo Masi
    • Asaeli Tuivuaka
    • Semi Radradra
    • Vilimoni Botitu
    • Waisea Nacuqu
    • Napolioni Bolaca
    •  Jiuta Wainiqolo
    • Aminiasi Tuimaba
    • Jerry Tuwai (C)
  • Traveling Reserves
    • 1.   Sireli Maqala
    • 2.   Kitione Taliga
    • 3.   Joseva Talacolo
    • 4.   Kavekini Tabu
  • Women’s team:
    • Rusila Nagasau (C)
    • Rejieli Daveua
    • Sesenieli Donu
    • Vasiti Solikoviti
    • Reapi Uluinasau
    • Tokasa Seniyasi
    • Viniana Riwai
    • Ana Naimasi
    • Aloesi Nakoci
    • Laisana Likuceva
    • Roela Radiniyavuna
    • Lavena Cavuru 
  • Traveling Reserves
    • 1.     Lavenia Tinai
    • 2.     Ana Maria Roqica
    • 3.     Rejieli Uluinayau

Men’s coach Baber said: “The Olympic Games is a one-off event which we are going into. I believe the biggest challenge is the fact that we haven’t had the time to get the rhythm and flow associated with playing in the World Rugby Sevens Series. I’m really excited about what the group brings, it’s a balance between the power which is a big part of our game, and the pace that we are able to put into it.
“We continue to look to command the aerial battels on the field as well as developing our strength at the set-piece. We have built the team and the capabilities around putting pressure on our opponents and as a result, there has been a balance in the selection of the squad to reflect this.”
He added that Radradra has been training in Europe and is confident he will pick up the momentum once they meet and begin preparation in Japan.
“I know him as an individual, an athlete and he keeps himself in a supreme condition which is why he always wins the battle. He is blessed to have the skill level of a 7s player even though he predominantly plays 15s and has done remarkable work for us when he played for us either in 7s or 15s code” said Baber.
The men are in Pool B at the Olympics and will play Great Britain, Canada and Japan, kicking off on 26 July.
For the women’s, coach Saiasi Fuli admitted that finalising their pick was not easy based on the players’ performance at the Oceania 7s last week and injuries in the squad.
“It’s sad to mention that two of our key players Vani Buleki and Luisa Tisolo were not considered due to serious injuries sustained during the tournament,” said Fuli
Despite the setback, Fuli has put together a formidable side that consists of two Olympians in the final 13, captain Rusila Nagasau and Rejieli Daveua.
The majority of the other players have been a part of the World Rugby Women’s Sevens Series while Sesenieli Donu, Reapi Uluinasau and Laisana Likuceva are newcomers in the squad. 
“We were blessed to play against New Zealand and Australia where I had an opportunity to test my girls’ and see who all can take up the challenge when needed.
We created a very competitive environment for them in terms of discipline, fitness, understanding of set-pieces and executing the plans against the opponents while on the field” said Fuli. 
The women are in Pool B and will come up against Canada, France and Brazil, with competition starting on 29 July.

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