Ruggers work on key areas

Fiji 7s team ruggers prepare for the Oceania 7s tournament scheduled to kick off in Townsville, Australia today. Picture: FRU

Defence and restarts are some of the key areas that the Fijian 7s team has been working on ahead of the PacificAus Sports Oceania Sevens tournament which kicks off in Townsville, Australia this Friday.

Fijian 7s coach Gareth Baber has rated the national side as the quickest in terms of scoring and has been challenging the players on what needs to be done when they are without possession.

According to Baber, many World Cups especially in the XV code have been won by teams that have kept the ball more than their opposition.

He said heading into any tournament as coach, his job was to always have a simple swat analysis done.

“I think obviously when you plan around playing against teams in a tournament as a coach you have to analyze your strength and weaknesses,” Baber said.

“And then also analyze the opposition where you see the opportunities and the threats. It is simple swat analysis. But in the areas of our game we will be looking to challenge ourselves on will be certainly without the ball.

“I honestly believe that we have worked hard on that in the last four and half years.

“RWC’ 15s have been won by teams that have kept the ball more than anybody else and 7s has gone a bit like that.

The reality is that if we can get the elements of that right, create the pressure without the ball then I know that there is only one team in the world that could score the tries and that’s us.

“With our passes we score quicker than anybody else. The combination with the strategy of the game is to increase pressure when you don’t have the ball and then obviously that when you do retain it then you score quickly.”

Baber expects the players to create pressure from the kick off and the restarts to gain possession.

He said many teams were now opting to kick deep to pressurise their opposition in their territory.

Baber said the Fijian players had the natural ability to contest in the aerial battle.

“Ultimately the profile of the players we end up picking is because they natural athletes,” he said.

“The quality of their high ball catching is able to create that pressure at the restarts. It is about having more quality from our starts both in attack and defence.”

Fiji will face Australia in their opening match of the Oceania 7s on Friday.

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