6 Dec 2018

Sport: Interim Fijiana coach hoping for full-time gig

1:44 pm on 6 December 2018

The interim Fiji women's sevens coach Alifereti Doviverata expects to find out in the next week whether he'll be given the job on a full-time basis.

The former Flying Fijians captain replaced Iliesa Tanivula in the off-season after the former coach led the Fijiana to a disappointing ninth place finish on the World Series last season, fifth at the Commonwealth Games and 11th at the World Cup in San Francisco.

Under Doviverata, Fiji finished 10th of 12 teams in the opening round of the current series in Glendale, Colorado and 11th last weekend in Dubai.

The Fijiana lost to Canada at the Dubai tournament on their way to 11th place

The Fijiana lost to Canada at the Dubai tournament on their way to 11th place Photo: World Rugby

The 42-year-old believed the Fijiana were making progress and argued they were unlucky to miss out on the quarter finals in the latest round on points differential, with Australia and Russia finishing as the top two third placed teams across the three pools.

"In Dubai it was just a nine point difference between the two third placed teams so we just missed out on [being] the second best third placed team to Russia," he said.

"In terms of the result we moved one down but in terms of the game from Colorado to Dubai we improved in what we wanted to do (and) the way we tried to play the game.

"The three pool games we had on the Thursday (against eventual finalists Canada, France and Spain) we scored the first try in all those three games.

"In all those games we created opportunities to score tries but the yellow cards that was given to us and not being consistent in the 14 minutes in our performance let us down in those three games.

"Playing with six women and having two yellow cards in a game does not help our causes so that is one area we will have to look into moving forward."

Alifereti Doviverata watched on during a Fijiana 7s training session.

Alifereti Doviverata watched on during a Fijiana 7s training session. Photo: Supplied/Fiji Rugby

New Directions

Since taking charge in the off-season, Alifereti Doviverata has largely shunned the players that represented the Fijiana Sevens over the past two seasons, including former captain Ana Maria Rociqa.

The former Tuvalu men's sevens coach felt it was time other players were given the chance to impress on the global stage.

"Most of those girls were playing in the series and other girls were not given the opportunity so it came to a point where I thought they were a bit complacent knowing that they would make the team every tournament so...that's why I decided to have a new trial altogether, have a look at other girls and select the team from there on," he said.

Fiji captain Ana Maria Roqica made the tournament Dream Team at the Kitakyushu Sevens.

Former captain Ana Maria Rociqa is among the experienced players out of favour. Photo: Michael Lee - KLC fotos

"I selected a new team altogether with two experienced players from the team that played last year and the new girls that came in I think they will need more time together as a team in trying to beat the other core teams that have been playing over the years.

"After the second tournament after seeing the girls I have selected I think if I'm given the opportunity to take the team to Sydney I'm thinking of looking at a few of those girls that were in the team last year," Doviverata said.

"I think with their experience playing the series for a couple of seasons I think to bring them in and blending them in with a few of the current girls in the team we'd be able to make a different in the Sydney Sevens."

Alifereti Doviverata captained Fiji at the 2003 Rugby World Cup.

Alifereti Doviverata captained Fiji at the 2003 Rugby World Cup. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

With the current Women's World Sevens Series doubling as an OIympic qualifying tournament, the interim boss said the aim is to finish in the top four and guarantee their ticket to Tokyo in 2020.

"We have set our vision for this 2018/19 Series that is to be in the top four to qualify for the Olympics so we have finished two tournaments and we now know where we are so we have got another six weeks to prepare for the Sydney Sevens."

Despite a frustrating start, Doviverata believes the team is getting better and now just hopes the Fiji Rugby Union gives him the chance to continue working with them.

"I've been in touch with the CEO regarding that position and at the moment he is still in Sydney. When he gets back he will have a meeting with the Chairman and the Board and hopefully early next week there will be a decision made regarding the position of the Fijiana sevens coach."

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