7 Feb 2014

Sport: Fiji 7s looking forward to NZ rematch in Wellington

12:09 pm on 7 February 2014

Amidst all the off-field distractions the Fiji sevens team will have the chance to make a statement on the field in Wellington on Friday, beginning with their opening pool match against New Zealand.

Fiji thrashed the World Series champions 44-0 en-route to the Dubai title in November but were beaten 12-7 in a heated Las Vegas pool clash that cost them a place in the Cup quarter finals.

New Zealand's Sam Dickson was slapped with a nine-game ban for an eye gouge in that game while Pio Tuwai will miss the Wellington tournament after being on the receiving end of a dangerous tackle.

Fiji coach Ben Ryan is expecting another tough encounter.

"New Zealand Fiji is a real Cup final intensity every time those two teams play. [I was] disappointed with last weekend - I really don't like that pitch in Vegas. Not only is it narrow but it's slow and also the boys were losing their footing all the time there. Pio Tuwai got saddle-rolled: so this is this judo-rolling technique that seems to have been coming into the game, that I think is illegal and should be outlawed and [will] try my best to do that. Pio got an injury from that - his knee - and wouldn't be fit."

Meanwhile Samoa open their Wellington campaign against Kenya with Tonga playing Australia first up.