Focus on ourselves first: Baber on Fiji Test against Spain

Vodafone Flying Fijians November Tour coach Gareth Baber says the focus against Spain on Sunday is to get the players to perform to their best of their abilities and getting things right, particularly with the match serving as the players first hit out together against a side that has had a chance to play in a competitive setting, the most recent against Italy A over the weekend.

Spain lost to the Italian side by two points, the final score being 11-13, but Baber is not dwelling too much on that, insisting the side focuses on what they can do with what they have against the Spaniards and what they know of them, and progressively improve for the other two matches against Wales and Georgia.

“But ultimately, early on in this, its about a focus on what we’ve got to get right here as a group,” Baber said, “Not creating something in the players’ heads at this stage which is going to prevent them or block that sort of process of understanding and problem solving together – getting stronger as a team and a group really.

“I often found with Fijian teams particularly that what we get right, and what we need to do, create good mindset in the players and gives us some things to focus on going into the games. Granted Spain will come out, we will give information to the players how Spain have over the last couple of games.

“The majority of the focus this week is that we’re focusing on ourselves. We’ve had two days together, we’ve got to get some stuff right and look to put that on whatever opposition we are going to meet.”

Baber admits the injuries to the squad early in the preparation ruling out the likes of Levani Botia and Johnny Dyer puts a dent to the campaign, but not to the extent that it would affect preparations having roped in equally experienced players as replacements.

“We’ve gone with a smaller squad bearing in mind w hat we’ve got to do over three weeks and 28 players. Losing those players has its effect, but equally we have replaced them with quality players playing up in Europe. We’ve been together for two days, with getting through some early understanding of being back as a group. The players that have come in, know what the job is at hand.”

Baber will finalise his match-day squad against Spain on Thursday.

Find below Flying Fijians 28-member extended squad for November Tour

Loose Head Prop
Peni Ravai
Eroni Mawi

Samuel Matavesi
Zuriel Togiatama *
Henry Spring *

Tight Head Prop
Luke Tagi
Mesake Doge
Leeroy Atalifo

Tevita Ratuva
Temo Mayanavanua
Albert Tuisue
Leone Nakarawa

Api Ratuniyarawa

Masivesi Dakuwaqa *
Mesulame Kunavula
Bill Mata

Frank Lomani
Nikola Matawalu

Ben Volavola

Vilimoni Botitu *

Apisai Naqalevu
Eneriko Buliruarua

Waisea Nayacalevu
Josua Tuisova

Eroni Sau
Aminiasi Tuimaba *
Jiuta Wainiqolo *

Seta Tuicuvu

Key: * is for the debutants

Flying Fijians Test Matches:
7th November 2021
Test Match: Flying Fijians V Spain
Venue: Estadio Central UC, Madrid       
Kick Off: 2am

15th November 2021
Test Match: Flying Fijians V Walies
Venue: Principality Stadium, Cardiff
Kick Off: 4.15am

20th November 2021
Test Match: Flying Fijians V Georgia
Venue: TBC
Kick Off: TBC

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