13 Apr 2019

Sport: Fiji Sevens team urged to focus on Singapore tournament

9:12 am on 13 April 2019

The young players in the Fiji Sevens team have been asked to move on from the elation of victory in Hong Kong to focus on this weekend's tournament in Singapore.

Fiji's Vilimoni Botitu scored one try and set up another in the final.

Fiji's Vilimoni Botitu scored one try and set up another in the final. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Fiji face Canada, Scotland and South Africa today in pool play.

They've never won tournaments on consecutive weekends and coach Gareth Baber says Fiji needs to shelve the joy of their Hong Kong success.

"We know that Hong Kong was emotional but part of our players' learning, especially these new boys who haven't been in this situation before, is to understand how they put that tournament in its place, reset their minds from what they've done last week and repeat the performances that they need to put in this weekend."

Playmaker Jerry Tuwai has been suffering from a virus in the buildup to today's tournament and Baber said while all his players were fit, care has been taken with Tuwai.

"We've managed him in the amount of training that he's been required to do this week with a view that he's good for the weekend but outside of that just getting over little niggles, little sore ankles, knees. We did some contact work yesterday and apart from Jerry everybody took part."

Gareth Baber's Fiji are second in the World Series standings just seven points behind the USA.

Samoa hoping to dominate weaker teams

Meanwhile, Samoa Sevens coach Sir Gordon Tietjens said his side has to dominate the weaker teams it will meet today in pool play at the Singapore Sevens.

Samoa take on Spain, Japan and New Zealand.

Samoa's Tofatu Solia was selected in the Hong Kong Sevens Dream Team.

Samoa's Tofatu Solia was selected in the Hong Kong Sevens Dream Team. Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

After a dismal couple of years, Samoa has regularly reached tournament quarterfinals this season, and Sir Gordon says continuing that form has to start with victory over Spain.

"They've beaten us before, they've beaten New Zealand. They're a good side. You've also got Japan and they've beaten both New Zealand and ourselves as well and other teams. It's always about one game at a time and we have to treat them (Spain) like they're one of the top four sides. Its all about attitude and getting up and having that attitude that you can go out and beat them."

Rising rugby star Phillip Luki could make his debut for Samoa this weekend and Sir Gordon Tietjens said Luki was an exciting player.

"He's played a lot of 15s, he's a very good 15s player but I suppose the time he's spent with us is getting sevens conditioned and that's been his real challenge. He's just come back from playing with Samoa A over in Fiji and played particularly well. So he's come into our side now and I've a lot of confidence in him. He's new to game of sevens but he's a very good footballer and if he gets on this weekend I'm sure he'll go very well."

Sir Gordon Tietjens' Samoa are sixth in the World Series standings after coming fourth last weekend in Hong Kong.

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