Dropping players worst part – Baber

Members of the Fiji 7s team cooling down after training - Team Fiji’s stay in Australia is proudly supported by the Australian Government’s PacificAus Sports program. Picture: FIJI RUGBY

The worst part of being a coach is dropping players who are part of a training group when naming the final squad for any major tournament according Team Fiji men’s rugby 7s coach Gareth Baber.

An 18-member extended squad was named for the PacificAus Sports Oceania 7s tournament in Australia last month as part of Fiji’s hit-out in preparation for the Tokyo Olympic Games gold medal defence.

The squad was joined by France based Aminiasi Tuimaba and Vilimoni Botitu whilst in Adelaide.

After the tournament five players were dropped when the final 16 member travelling part was named for the Tokyo Olympics.

Taniela Sadrugu, Rusiate Nasove, Livai Ikanikoda, Kaminieli Rasaku and Alasio Naduva missed the cut.

“In relation to the players who were left out, it is the worst part of being the coach but you have to do that,” Baber said.

“We also have to be mindful of everybody back in Fiji as to how tough it is there.

“They are all in our prayers and our love is there always and we speak regularly of that.

“It is important that we know of the loss of the boys who have gone  back, that they have been in the group for a while but that is the nature of the game that we play.”

“Selection is selection and whilst there is always opinions on selections of the team that is always a part of it.

“This is the team that we have picked that will do the honour for Fiji to defend the gold medal.”

Fiji will play face Japan in the opening match at 12pm next Monday and then take on Canada at 8pm in the second match.

Fiji’s final pool game will be against Great Britain at 12.30pm the following day.

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