Coach Gareth Baber has insisted his Fiji Sevens squad will continue to operate a strict disciplinary policy heading into the defence of the HSBC Sevens title in Hamilton this weekend, but the door is still open for Vatemo Ravouvou who was dropped for consuming alcohol at the Cape Town Sevens last month, to fight his way back into contention.
Baber heads into the Hamilton leg confident Fiji still has the best sevens players in the World and insists they can live up to their billing as reigning Olympic champions if they remove all “distractions”.
He said: “I know it may sound a bit strange but the reality is Fijian players are the best in the world when they are free to think and they’re removed from distractions. The doors are always open. Vatemo needs to prove that he has changed then we can talk about getting him back in the team.”
Baber has introduced new faces for the New Zealand leg of the series which is quickly followed by the Sydney Sevens. The USA currently top the standings with Fiji third behind New Zealand and Baber wants to see a response from is players in Hamilton and said: “Every game is tough especially on the first day of the tournament; ”he said. “So we need to get it right from the start.
“We’ve won five tournaments last year so half of the tournaments this year we are going to be defending champions.
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“We don’t really focus on that in terms of the team culture. It’s more about why we do it, who we do it for. My job as coach is to prepare them physically, mentally as well.”Fiji, who beat South Africa in last year’s final, have been drawn in the same pool as Wales, Argentina and Australia for the Hamilton leg.
Besides the disciplinary action against Ravouvo, the FRU has also stood down Amenoni Nasilasila and will await the court ruling on his case of alleged rape before deciding on his future in the national 7s set-up.
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