Fiji out to win back-to-back titles for first time

Dec 4 • General News, International, Sevens Rugby, Sevens World Series, World Rugby • 1666 Views • Comments Off on Fiji out to win back-to-back titles for first time

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Fiji head coach Ben Ryan loves coming to Dubai.

He has won three of the last four Cup titles as coach, and a fourth in five years would see his side not only take another step towards Olympic qualification but also, suprisingly, win back-to-back titles for the first time.

Having won the Gold Coast title, and heading to 7he Sevens Stadium as defending champions, Ryan believes he has the side capable of creating history.

“Fiji have never won two tournaments in a row, ever, so we have the opportunity to do that, and I have the team to do that.

“A win here would give us some serious breathing space in terms of Rio, especially if we can back that up in South Africa with a win which is our goal. That would send us into 2015 with a huge tailwind.”

Last year Fiji memorably inflicted New Zealand’s heaviest defeat in the semi-final before beating South Africa in the final. Pundits and fans alike compared their performances in Australia to that of Dubai 12 months ago.

Ryan is delighted with where Fiji are at the moment, and believes they are on the verge of a golden era for sevens.

“I said to the guys that our biggest opponent is ourselves, but if we get our game out there, it will take an incredible performance by anyone else to beat us.

“We scored more points in Australia than any side has scored since the 2006 series, in Singapore, and we conceded less points than we did in all of the events last year. The signs are good as we are getting better and I am loving this period, and I feel this period is one that will be very successful for Fiji.”

KOLINISAU IS A FUTURE FIJI COACH

At the forefront of the form in Australia was captain Osea Kolinisau, who TV commentator Karl Tenana believes is the best player on the circuit at the moment, and the closest to showing the form that shot Waisale Serevi to fame.

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“I’m often asked who the best player is that I’ve ever played with or against. It may be a different answer for 15s, but in sevens it’s simple – Waisale Serevi,” said Tenana.

“For me, Fiji’s current captain, Osea Kolinisau, is near the best in the world at the moment. He has worked on his weaknesses, become a more complete player from the previous two years on the series and now looks like he belongs in the top echelon.

“At this year’s Gold Coast Sevens he held a very high standard for the whole tournament and I haven’t seen that from a player on the circuit for a while – probably because of the demands now on the players.”

Kolinisau was named player of the tournament in Australia, and was the second highest tackler behind teammate Semi Kunatani, and Ryan agrees with Tenana’s claim.

“Osea is the best player on the circuit in terms of the impact he has on the game. He made the second-most tackles in Australia, but he is involved in a big percentage of all of our of our tries. He talks a lot, is a cultural architect and he is a future Fiji coach in my mind without question.”

Courtesy of World Rugby

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