Fiji Sevens Coach Gareth Baber has been robbed by injury of captain Kalione Nasoko who will miss the defence of the HSBC Hong Kong Sevens title and the tournament in Singapore.
As a result of Nasoko’s knee injury, which he suffered in Vancouver, the squad will be captained by Paula Dranisinukula and includes Police 7s skipper Livai Ikanikoda and Napolioni Ratu. For Ikanikoda, selection means a return to the national team for the first time since 2011.
The loss of Nasoko, who is waiting to learn what sentence he will receive for a drink driving offence on Friday, is a significant one given that Fiji have won the Hong Kong title four times in a row but have not found the consistency this season that Baber knows will be needed in a very tough pool.
Nasoko has agreed to join Edinburgh next season where his power running will feature on the wing for the Guinness Pro 14 outfit and Baber said: “Kali has had the chance to go to Edinburgh and this is a great opportunity for him and is family.
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We wish him luck and I know what life is like in Great Britain and it is will be a little colder than in Fiji! We have some injuries in the squad and Kali won’t get to Hong Kong and Singapore. We will fly to Hong Kong on Thursday and then recover from the 10-hour flight and will play against Hong Kong on Saturday.
“As we get into the week at our Hong Kong base will take on another team on Tuesday leading into the tournament. There may be a couple of new players involved and they are going to need that time to get to understand our systems. “
FRU Chief Executive John O’Connor said “Nasoko was working closely with the Union to pursue an overseas contract with the Scotland based side. Nasoko has been one of the hardest working members in the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s side and has grown over the years since his debut in 2016.
Fiji are in the same pool in Hong Kong as New Zealand, Australia and Kenya.
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