Gareth Baber believes the humility and attention to detail of captain Paula Dranisinukula is absolutely vital to Fiji’s bid to overtake the USA at the top of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
A remarkable fifth successive Hong Kong title means Fiji head into the defence of their Singapore 7s crown just seven points behind the USA in the overall table with three rounds of the hotly contested Series left.
The Fijian coach blooded eight new players in Hong Kong and has praised the influence of his captain in shaping the squad and ensuring they remain humble as they deal with the rapid turnaround for the Singapore tournament.
Speaking to FijiVillage, Baber said: “Paula has put Hong Kong in its right place and is the first to move on and that is leadership qualities in my mind because he is somebody who understands the little elements about what we do not the big displays of behaviour and he is always ready to do the rubbish work himself.
“Paula leads the recovery of the players and gets them into the right head space to ensure they are not letting anything drop around them like timings or clothing. They have responsibilities for doing jobs around us like collecting laundry, picking up the bags and balls at the right time.
Pool Matches- Saturday, 13 April
4.36pm Fiji vs Canada ??
8.02pm Fiji vs Scotland ???????
11.28pm Fiji vs South Africa ?? pic.twitter.com/Znev5EBfAj
— Fiji 7s Team (@Fiji7sTeam) April 11, 2019
“That is what part of being a family is about; being a leader or a father means you have to lead by example and he did that fantastically well last week in Hong Kong.”
New Zealand, who finished a disappointing sixth place in Hong Kong, are promising to bounce back in Singapore to boost their bid for automatic qualification for the Olympic Games in Tokyo by securing a top four finish at the conclusion of the Series.
With the @HSBC_Sport @WorldRugby7s coming to @SGSportsHub this weekend, @Best6Analysis takes a look at what fans can expect post the Hong Kong madness. He's also looking forward to seeing @BrianODriscoll try his hand at some Rugby Badminton?! #Singapore7s https://t.co/c9guOpzoos
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) April 11, 2019
Key All Black player Sam Dickson said: “As long as everyone can improve at least two per cent for this week then that’s a big gain overall for the team. We will be bringing a lot of mongrel and fire in Singapore to make up for this weekend, but we have plenty of belief in our systems.”
WATCH: Jim Hamilton explore the rugby sights of Singapore
Sign up to our mailing list here and we’ll keep you up to the minute with weekly updates from the world of rugby.