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Fiji name squad to defend the Olympic Games sevens gold medal in Tokyo

By Chris Jones

Trending on RugbyPass

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Gareth Baber, the Fiji Sevens head coach, has included Bristol’s Semi Radradra, Pau’s Aminiasi Tuimaba and Castres-based Filimoni Botitu in the squad to defend the Olympic Games gold medal in Tokyo.

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Tuimaba and Botitu impressed as Fiji won the Oceania 7s warm-up event in Townsville having flown back from France but Radradra will go straight to Japan to ensure he has completed the required quarantine period after training in Bristol in preparation for the attempt to repeat the gold medal triumph achieve in Rio in 2016.

Baber is confident Radradra will quickly fit into the squad despite missing all of the build-up and said: “I know him as an individual, an athlete and he keeps himself in a supreme condition which is why he always wins the battle. He is blessed to have the skill level of a 7s player even though he predominantly plays 15s and has done remarkable work for us when he played for us either in 7s or 15s code.

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“The Olympic Games is a one off event which we are going into. I believe the biggest challenge is the fact that we haven’t had the time to get the rhythm and flow associated with playing in the World Rugby Sevens Series.

“Therefore, the Oceania tournament became an important opportunity for those players who have less experience as well as those who have returned from Europe, to show the quality which I look for.”

Jiuta Wainiqolo and Iosefo Masi who put up an impressive show during the Oceania 7s have also made the cut into the 12 and Baber added: “I’m really excited in what the group brings, it’s a balance between the power which is a big part of our game and the pace that we are able to put into it.

“We continue to look to command the aerial battels on the field as well as developing our strength at set piece. We have built the team and the capabilities around putting pressure on our opponents and as a result there has been a balance in the selection of the squad to reflect this”

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“They have done exceptionally well in getting into this group. That’s been on the back of their perseverance, sacrifice not only by them but their families as well.”

Fiji are in Pool B at the Olympics and will play Great Britain, Canada and Japan, kicking off on July 26.

THE TEAM FIJI MEN’S RUGBY SEVENS OLYMPIC SQUAD:
1. Kalione Nasoko
2. Josua Vakurinabili
3. Meli Derenalagi
4. Iosefo Masi
5. Asaeli Tuivuaka
6. Semi Radradra
7. Vilimoni Botitu
8. Waisea Nacuqu
9. Napolioni Bolaca
10. Jiuta Wainiqolo
11. Aminiasi Tuimaba
12. Jerry Tuwai {c}

TRAVELING RESERVES:
1. Sireli Maqala
2. Kitione Taliga
3. Joseva Talacolo
4. Kavekini Tabu

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Fiji name squad to defend the Olympic Games sevens gold medal in Tokyo

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