Our sevens challenge

Fred Wesley | Tuesday, January 23, 2018
Police are the new champions of the Coral Coast 7s.
Fred Wesley. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU
Fred Wesley. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

They dethroned former defending champions First Light Taveuni in the final of the main competition at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka at the weekend.

Police kick-started our local sevens season this year with a convincing 34-7 win, defeating the darlings of the 2017 event.

The victory catapulted the lawmen back firmly on to the pedestal reserved for the big boys of the sport.

They weren't bothered by the hot and humid weather.

In fact they thrived on the firm underfoot conditions.

This week attention shifts to Sydney for the opening leg of this year's World Rugby 7s Series.

Once again we plan to bring you the latest updates on and off the field.

We plan to bring you pictures and reports by two of our seasoned journalists who depart for Sydney this morning.

Former national sevens coach Ben Ryan made an interesting comment the other day at Lawaqa Park.

This year, he said, was "a funny season with the world cup and the Commonwealth Games".

He said teams "doing both will have to plan well if they are going to both and take them strongly".

He believes non-Commonwealth teams such as Argentina, the US and France could focus on Hong Kong, lifting their standards there.

The scenarios actually place a lot of pressure on national coach Gareth Baber this season.

After Sydney this weekend, we head to Hamilton in New Zealand for the next event on February 3 and 4.

Then it is on to Las Vegas on March 2 to 4 before we head across for the Vancouver 7s in Canada on March 10 and 11.

Hong Kong is on April 6 to 8 before the Commonwealth Games at the Gold Coast in Australia on April 14 and 15.

We then head for the Singapore 7s on April 28 and 29, head for the Paris 7s in France on May 26 to 27 and for the London 7s on June 2 and 3.

The 7s World Cup is scheduled for July 20 to 22 in San Francisco in the US.

Ryan should know what is before us.

The greatest challenge now falls on Baber to get our team into shape, peaking at the right time throughout this very busy season.

Ryan planned it well in 2016, pulling off a preparation that was strategic as well as focused on the Olympic Games gold medal in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

This year we have it tough. Baber has the prized Hong Kong event to look forward to, the elusive Commonwealth gold medal challenge, and the 7s World Cup campaign.

Fijian fans can be very demanding.

Baber will need our support though this weekend.

He has the hot seat.

Go Fiji, go.

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