Fiji coach Gareth Baber admits that fatigue will be a factor as they attempt to add the Singapore title to the remarkable fifth successive Hong Kong Sevens triumph.
Baber and his staff will monitor the Fiji players throughout the week and aim to use the humility of the David and Goliath parable to remind the squad what they have to get right to deliver another Series win. Fiji are now seven points behind HSBC World Sevens Series leaders USA and Baber said: ”I want players who are in emotional control and can deliver the quality of performances that have won us tournaments.
“We have the players in the swimming pool also eating and hydrating properly and the process of recovery started on Sunday night and it is a tough ask to go from such a high winning Hong Kong, which means so much to all Fijians and then head to Singapore. We train the boys to operate at this level and we all know that this week is the tough one and it is all about getting our team ready. We know the processes that have to be right to allow us to win this tournament and now it is about being confident in our plan and not getting blinded by fatigue or distractions.
“We have been here before with the same fatigue levels and a few players had more game time than others and we will manage them. It is now a race for all teams to see who can get their players in the best physical and mental state. I started the same seven all the way through in Hong Kong and had done that only once previously.
“Regardless of the points system, my focus is to ensure the players deliver what they did in Hong Kong, Cape Town and Hamilton – it doesn’t change because we are now in second place in the table. It is about controlling what you do, preparing the right way and not getting ahead mentally and thinking that you are potentially better than you are. Our culture hasn’t changed but other teams step up against Fiji and every game is a final.”
Baber paid tribute to Jerry Tuwai describing the play-maker as “four players on the field” in Hong Kong. Baber, who has dealt with a series of off-the-field problems this season including injuries to key players, said: “Jerry’s four players on a field, isn’t he. He’s a little man but the work he can do around the field, the maturity and the decision making. Last year people were calling for his head at times and it just leaves me flabbergasted that anybody should ever have a theory like that on a player that can achieve such beautiful things on a rugby field. He’s such a beautiful man as well. He instils humility in the squad and helps them just do what they have got to do.”
Tuwai was typically modest as he received the plaudits from his coach and said: “I’m speechless. To play with such amazing talent, you know they carried me through. I am just so blessed. It’s the only tournament we know in Fiji.”
In other news: Nations Championship deadline extended
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