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New SVNS circuit labelled 'ruthless' by struggling Fiji

By Ned Lester
Fiji sevens at the Dubai SVNS 2024

Nothing short of perfection will do for aspiring SVNS teams, that is the lesson the circuit’s first leg taught Fiji head coach Ben Gollings.

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Golling’s men fell short to eventual winners South Africa in the semi-final in Dubai, one of three teams the Blitzboks held to just one score in their knockout games.

New Zealand awaited in the bronze-place final and Fiji held the lead with just seconds to spare before a spectacular finish from Fehi Fineanganofo.

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The result was a wake-up call says Gollings, with the reality of the new competition now setting in.

“All the pools are ruthless, we had that in Dubai,” he said, as quoted by RNZ.

“With the way the format is this year, we have to be spot on and we have to win every game.”

Fiji went on to lose their first match of the circuit’s second stop to France before beating Spain and toppling eventual winners Argentina in pool play in Cape Town.

Reaching the semi-finals once more, the Fijian squad were again dismissed after managing just one try in the match, but went one better in the bronze final, claiming third place at the tournament.

Still, Gollings is under increased pressure to inspire a winning effort in the next stop, Perth, after both the Dubai and Cape Town showings saw his team struggle to reach the dizzying heights the Flying Fijians are known for, even producing a goose egg against Great Britain.

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With an Olympic year fast approaching, 2016 Rio gold medalist Vatemo Ravouvou made his feelings about the form of the team known this week.

“All the teams are beating Fiji now and there is no combination in the team, especially from the forwards and backline. They have to be aggressive. All I can see from the Dubai 7s and even in the Cape Town 7s, is that there is too much individual play and everyone wants to be the star.”

Gollings now has until January 26 to prepare his team for the Perth leg and prove they are on track to make a run during the back end of the circuit before the Paris showpiece in July.

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Comments

1 Comment
P
Pecos 218 days ago

Well, this would be concerning if it wasn’t for the fact that the change of format means teams merely need to qualify for the Top 8 Grand Final “winner take all” weekend in Madrid in June 2024. The series is thus toothless instead of ruthless. A team like Fiji can turn up as 8th qualifier, in peak condition, & win the championship crown.

So essentially, the 7 round SVNs circuit is just bragging rights practice for the big dance.

Weird.

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