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Fijian fans important in Sydney

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Fiji relying on fans to claim maiden Sydney Sevens title

Fresh off their comprehensive tournament win in Hamilton, Fiji head to Sydney with high hopes of securing a hat-trick of titles in successive weekends.

The Fijians blitzed through the pool stage and play-offs en route to demolishing the United States 38-0 in the final to cap off an undefeated outing in New Zealand.

It was their second title of the 2018-19 World Series after claiming the Cup in in Cape Town last month, and they now sit in first-equal place alongside the USA on the overall standings.

Now in Australia with hopes of pushing into the lead on the World Series table with a third straight tournament win this weekend, coach Gareth Baber has highlighted the importance that the boisterous Fijian fans have in his side’s success.

Fiji fans in Hamilton. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Speaking to rugby.com.au, Baber said that the enormous level of support the reigning Olympic champions received in Hamilton – and around the world – played a big role in his team’s victories.

“We don’t have a home tournament so the success that Fiji has always had has been off the back of going to places there really shouldn’t be Fijians,” he said.

“But they are, they’re all around the world.

“It’s ingrained in Fijian DNA, so when we travel the world and see the sea of blue that we do see. It is a phenomenal connection for us as Fijians to realise exactly what that means to us.”

Since moving the Australian leg of the World Series from the Gold Coast to Sydney in 2016, Fiji are yet to have won in New South Wales from three attempts.

Their last victory in Australia came in the 2014-15 edition of the Series, with the last three winners being New Zealand, South Africa and the home side.

Baber told rugby.com.au that he hopes for a turn in fortune this year, especially when Sydney holds the largest Fijian community in the world outside of the nation itself.

“We haven’t performed here here over the last couple of seasons, we know that,” he said.

“We know there is going to be a Fijian crowd here for us again, which is superb. It is one we want to put to bed, in terms of the last couple of years and make sure we carry on with the quality that we showed in Hamilton.”

The Sydney Sevens kicks-off on February 2 at the new venue of Spotless Stadium, with the women’s tournament starting a day earlier.

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Fiji relying on fans to claim maiden Sydney Sevens title