Fiji Airways Fijian 7s Head Coach Ben Gollings has named his 13-member squad for the Hong Kong tournament which sees ten players playing for the first time at So Kon Po Stadium.
Captain Waisea Nacuqu, Sevuloni Moceinacagi and Josua Vakurinabili are the three players who have featured at the mecca of all 7s tournaments and have won it in the last five years.
Gollings said “It’s important we lean on their experience to give the players the understanding of what Hong Kong 7s is about and the level of competition expected as all teams will eye to win the prestigious title.”
Josefa Talacolo, Jerry Matana, Philipo Bukayaro, Filipe Sauturaga, Vuiviawa Naduvalo are other household names who have made the cut into the traveling squad. They were also part of the team which won the World Cup in South Africa in September.
Gollings said it’s time to test and give game time to the other players who have been in the wider squad. These players are Tira Welagi, Josevani Soro and the 13th player – Paula Nayacakalou.
“We have a few changes as post World Cup we have had some players move on so we have been developing and have included players who have been in the wider squad whole of last year.
We have given the opportunity to the players who have been working hard in the forwards and I hope they will be able to deliver it next weekend” he said.
Gollings added that there is a huge expectation as the Fijian 7s team is the defending champions and has won five times in a row.
“Hong Kong 7s is a pinnacle event but none more so than for Fiji where there is a huge amount of support and they have won it back-to-back five times in a row which is an incredible record.
There is an expectation that we will go fight to keep that record alive and make it six in a row. We are just building now to go on Sunday which will be a good experience for these players” said Gollings.
He further added that Jerry Tuwai who was part of the team which won the five Hong Kong 7s titles is been rested and given time to refresh.
“With Jerry Tuwai, we sat down after the World Cup and discussed giving him some time off.
He had been at it for a while so we decided to give him this period from now to the end of the year completely off just to refocus and come fresh post-Christmas.
He has been supportive and helping us in the background as the coach of the team” said Gollings.
Fiji is pooled with USA, Spain and Japan. The Hong Kong 7s takes place from the 4th to the 6th of November.
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s traveling squad
- Josefa Talacolo
- Josua Vakurinabili
- Jerry Matana
- Tira Welagi
- Josevani Soro
- Sevuloni Moceinacagi
- Philipo Bukayaro
- Waisea Nacuqu
- Filipe Sauturaga
- Manueli Maisamoa
- Vuiviawa Naduvalo
- Iowane Teba
- Paula Nayacakalou