The problems continue to pile up for Gareth Baber the Fiji Sevens coach who has now lost wing Waisea Nacuqu with a fractured collar bone which rules him out of the rest of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
Also out of the opening pool game of this weekend’s leg in Vancouver is Aminiasi Tuimaba who was deemed to have made a dangerous tackle against New Zealand in the quarter-final clash at the Las Vegas Sevens. Tuimaba missed two of the games in Las Vegas leaving him one more to complete his ban. The USA retained the Las Vegas title with Fiji, the defending Olympic champions ending up sixth.
This leaves Fiji third in the standings behind the USA and New Zealand with a top four finish at the end of the Series earning automatic qualification for the Olympic Games in Japan next year,
The loss of Nacuqu has been even harder to accept because the player who caused the damage was not sent off. Baber was adamant it should have been a red card for Australian skipper Lewis Holland, who was later cited and suspended for three games by World Rugby. The referee missed the high hit by and Holland stayed on the pitch to help Australia win 26-15 with Nacuqu expected to be out for 3-4 months.
Fiji Rugby Union chief executive John O’Connor is back the team to defend the Vancouver title and said: “We are third on the table and hopefully the boys defend the Vancouver title this weekend.”
The one bright spot from a damaging Las Vegas Sevens was the continued excellence of Jerry Tuwai who was voted into the team of the tournament after delivering more of his trademark play-making skills for Fiji. The defence of the Vancouver title starts with pool games against the much improved Samoa team that lost the Las Vegas final to USA, the cash strapped Kenyan squad and hosts Canada.
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.