18 Jan 2020

Sport: Experienced Fiji 7s team ready for Hamilton

10:33 am on 18 January 2020

Fiji Rugby Sevens coach Gareth Baber has named an experienced 13-man squad for the upcoming New Zealand tournament in Hamilton.

Fiji's coach Gareth Baber following their victory in Hamilton.

Gareth Baber after Fiji won the 2019 NZ Sevens in Hamilton Photo: PHOTOSPORT

Livai Ikanikoda returns to the team for his first tournament of the season and was expected to bring his signature strength and leadership to the side while Asaeli Tuivuaka has earnt re-selection and hoped to inject more physicality and power into the team.

In the forwards, Kavekini Tabu retains his position after making his debut in Dubai.

Baber also holds high expectations for Sevu Mocenacagi, Josua Vakurunabili and Apenisa Cakaubalavu.

Jerry Tuwai and Ratu Meli Derenalagi will share the captaincy in the absence of Paula Drainisinukula who has been sidelined with a hand injury.

Discipline key - Baber

Gareth Baber said discipline would be key to turning their season's fortunes around.

Fiji sit sixth on the World Series table after disappointing finishes in Dubai and Cape Town.

However Baber insisted that after an intensive five week training block his squad would be ready to right the ship in Hamilton next weekend.

He said being more disciplined would help make 2020 a success.

"It's changing habits [and] behaviours which have existed for long periods at a time we keep on at that constantly in the sessions with the likes of immediate fines and punishments after training to keep them where they need to be."

Fiji will open the New Zealand tournament with pool matches against Samoa, Australia and Argentina.

Ratu Meli Derenalagi and Jerry Tuwai were named in the team of tournament, while Josua Vakurunabili scored in the final.

Ratu Meli Derenalagi (left) and Jerry Tuwai (centre) will co-captain Fiji Photo: Mike Lee - KLC fotos for World Rugby

Fiji squad:

Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Josua Vakurunabili, Asaeli Tuivuaka, Kavekini Tabu, Apenisa Cakaubalavu, Ratu Meli Derenalagi, Vilimoni Botitu, Waisea Nacuqu, Jerry Tuwai, Alasio Naduva, Aminiasi Tuimaba, Napolioni Ratu, Livai Ikanikoda.