20 May 2017

Sport: Fiji 7s aiming to end season on a high

10:43 am on 20 May 2017

The Fiji sevens team are determined to finish a challenging season on a high in this weekend's World Series finale in London.

Gareth Baber made his debut as Fiji coach at the 2017 Wellington Sevens

Gareth Baber, (left), made his debut as Fiji coach at the 2017 Wellington Sevens Photo: Photosport

The Olympic champions relinquished their World Series title last weekend, with South Africa winning the Paris title to open up a massive 34 point lead over nearest rivals England, with one round remaining.

Fiji lost to Samoa in pool play before back to back defeats against Scotland and the United States.

Head coach Gareth Baber said they let themselves down.

"We felt we didn't play to the performance standards that we set previously. We wanted to make up for some of that but what was good about Paris was the introduction of four new faces as well,"he said.

"They got lots of learning out of that...they're starting to learn what the rhythm of a sevens tournament looks like between the two back to back weekends and hopefully some of the lessons learnt"

"What I do know about my group is they're quick learners - I'm looking forward to seeing some of those learning come out in the games on the weekend and finishing strong at the end of the season," Baber said,

Fiji's World Series defence may be over but Gareth Baber's side can still overtake England in second place.

"You've always got to have targets when you're performing and in fairness to South Africa they've played extremely well and consistently well over the season," he said.

"They deserved their victory but yeah we want to get that second place and, reality is that, if we get what we need to get right in the way that we prepare and then put our game together and execute game plan on the days and then we know we can grab that second place, that's going to be a huge focus."

Fiji play Canada tonight in the opening match of the tournament at Twickenham, as well as Japan and New Zealand in pool play.

Samoa have received a boost with captain Faalemiga Selesele available for this weekend's final round of the World Sevens Series in London.

The Manu talisman missed day two of the Paris Sevens with a suspected concussion, with Samoa ending the weekend with only eight fit players.

Joe Perez, Tofatu Solia and Tomasi Alosio have also been cleared to play in London, with Silao Nonu replacing Tila Mealoi.

Head coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said with one round to go he's already thinking about next season.

"Obviously as a coach still spreading my net wide looking for players that can compete at this level. There are some that have come through, some youngsters, that have had tremendous last three or four tournaments in their first ever tournaments on the World Series," he said.

"They're the future of Samoan sevens and some of them are not quite there yet - they need a bit of work to do - and I'm, as I said, spreading my net wide to keep building depth in Samoan sevens," Sir Gordon says.

Samoa face Australia, Spain and England in pool play at Twickenham and will also confirm their qualification for next years Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco.