The heat in Singapore is no excuse not to deliver a winning performance this weekend at the HSBC World Rugby Singapore 7s Tournament.
This is according to Fiji Sevens player Nemani Nagusa, 27, who said, “Though the weather is bit hot and humid, I think that will not affect our game. It is on us and there is no excuse not to perform this weekend, and so we will just go out there and do our best.”
Added Fiji Head Coach Ben Ryan, 44, “As long as the boys prepare well, that is the main thing. The heat does not bother our boys except that your hands get really sweaty and the ball does not stick as well as you would like. But you have to get prepared for the game – We are thinking of using wet wipes so that we will have dry hands to start the game, and that will be good for us. I think that other teams will suffer far more in this humidity than Fiji would.”
Speaking to members of the media after training
Nagusa and Coach Ryan had been speaking to members of the media yesterday, after a hard training session, where they had been put through a series of basic drills and passing movements to get ready for the HSBC World Sevens this weekend.
Being in a tough pool together with England and Samoa also does not worry the Fijians. Said Coach Ryan, “As groups go, I think ours is not the hardest group in the tournament. But it is still one where we have to show a lot of respect for the opposition. Whoever plays on the field will have to give it their all.”
Added Nagusa, “We will do our best and treat every game like a final, with every team being a good team. We cannot underestimate any team so it is important to go there and do the best that we can, till the last game.”
Fiji will not rest on their laurels after winning in HongKong
Last weekend, the Fijians were in a buoyant mood after their victory at the HongKong Sevens but the players are certainly not going to be one to rest on their laurels.
Said Nagusa, “We were all really happy about that yes, but we come into this week with the Coach telling us to focus and reset – forget about last weekend (in HongKong) and just focus on this week.”
He added, “After all, everyone is coming this week with the aim of beating us – so the pressure its definitely on, but we have the talent to perform and lift our game to another level this weekend.”
Last season, Fiji had won their second HSBC world Rugby Sevens series. Now they are favourites to emerge as the winners again.
Importance of balancing out training and recovery time
However Coach Ryan understands that it is important to balance out training and recovery – with the HongKong and Singapore tournaments having been just one week apart.
Said Coach Ryan, “This is the 81st Rugby Sevens tournament for me in the world, and I have tried all sorts of things over the years. I have seen teams who have rested their players completely till tomorrow and others who have gone hard from the start.”
He continued “We have given the boys a couple of days rest and now we really have to get them moving and going again. In the gym this morning and then on the field here just now, they are back to where they were – so our recovery is complete now and we are all set and raring to go.”
Making some changes to their squad for Singapore
Fiji though may be making some significant changes to their final selection in the Singapore tournament. Said Coach Ryan, “I am trying to have a team capable of wining this weekend, to give some opportunities to new players but at the same time, making sure that the players representing us this weekend have a good chance for Olympic selection.”
He added, “I do not want to play people whom I feel are not quite ready for Rio in three months’ time. So there are a few things going on in my head and if I am to be honest, I have about 11 players decided and there is one more spot with three players in the running for it and I am still musing over that.”
Main focus is an Olympic Gold Medal
Of course, the main focus will still be an Olympic gold medal in Rio, in the eyes of both Coach Ryan and the players. Said Nagusa, “The people back home are really looking forward to an Olympic gold – Fiji have never won a gold medal in the Olympics before and this is a really good chance for us to win one.”
Added his team mate, HalfBack and FlyHalf Emosi Volcago, 32, “An Olympic Gold Medal will really mean a lot to Fiji because it will be the country’s first-ever Olympic Gold.”