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Tuwai and Taliga may create history

June 4, 2021 6:00 am
Jerry Tuwai and Kitione Taliga

Two Olympians have a chance to create history for Fiji this year.

Jerry Tuwai and Kitione Taliga who were part of the 2016 Rio Olympic Games side that won gold have been named in the 18 member squad for the Oceania 7s in Australia this month.

Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber says Taliga is a special player.

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“Kiti’s experienced and knowledge that then can help not just them but others around them to understand and develop their game, it’s important, Kiti has a particularly high skill level when it comes certain aspects of the game but there’s other areas of the game that he needs to work on and continue working on to warrant being in that 13”.

From the 18 players, five will be dropped and 13 will feature at the Olympics.

At the moment there’s a possibility all players will go to Japan for pre-Olympics camp.

Baber adds it’s going to be an interesting Oceania outing for them.

“We don’t know where we at this point in time and you know every intention of winning each game that we play but those games will only be played if we getting things right individually and collectively and that’s what we’ve gotta go and see”.

Fiji Rugby Chief Executive Officer, John O’Connor has welcomed the opportunity for our Fijian and Fijiana 7s teams to play important lead up against tough opposition in lead up to the Olympic Games in Japan next month.

He acknowledged and thanked the Almighty for allowing such an opportunity in these challenging times.

Both the men’s and women’s teams will take part in the much-anticipated PacificAus Sports Oceania Rugby Sevens from the 25th to the 27th of this month in Townsville, Australia.

In line with the Oceania 7s announcement, Fijian 7s, Coach Gareth Baber and Fijiana 7s Coach Saiasi Fuli have named their respective 18-member extended squad.

Baber has named a mixture of experience and young players for the Oceania tournament.

After recovering well from an ACL injury, Kalione Nasoko makes his return and joins a powerful forward pack that consists of experienced players in the likes of Josua Vakurunibili, Meli Derenalagi, Kavekini Tabu, and Asaeli Tuivuaka.

Tabadamu’s Iosefo Masikau, Barbarians, and Nabua rugby clubs Taniela Sadrugu, Police 7s stars Rusiate Nasove and Joseva Talacolo completes the Fijian 7s thrilling forward-pack.

Barbarians and Nabua winger Juita Wainiqolo, Sireli Maqala, and Uluinakau’s Kaminieli Rasaku also join an exciting and entertaining backline.

Baber said the balance and combination of experience, as well as young talent, is important.

Baber added that the Oceania 7s will set a platform that will give him an opportunity to gauge the players while playing against New Zealand and Australia.

He added though it’s usually difficult for an athlete to understand and be aware of their fitness form as a player.

Fijiana 7s Coach Saiasi Fuli says that it’s been a long wait and the team is glad to get an opportunity to play against Australia and New Zealand.

Fuli has named 7 forwards and 11 backs including Olympians Rusila Nagasau, Rejieli Daveua, and Viniana Riwai.

Seasonal half-back Tokasa Seniyasi will captain the side and will be helped by Mereula Torooti, Lavena Cavuru, Ana Maria Naimasi, Roela Radiniyavuni, and Aloesi Nakoci in the backline.

The newcomers in the squad are Lautoka trio Sesenieli Donu, Vani Buleki, Vasiti Solikoviti, Yasawa’s Bulou Rokodinono, Laisana Likuceva, and Nadroga’s Reapi Ulunisau.

Baber and Fuli are expected to name their final 13-member squad for the Olympic Games after the completion of the Oceania 7s tournament.

Fijian 7s Squad for Oceania 7s

1. Kalione Nasoko
2. Josua Vakurinabili
3. Meli Derenalagi
4. Kavekini Tabu
5. Iosefo Masikau
6. Asaeli Tuivuaka
7. Joseva Talacolo
8. Taniela Sadrugu
9. Rusiate Nasove
10. Jerry Tuwai [C]
11. Livai Ikanikoda
12. Napolioni Bolaca
13. Waisea Nacuqu
14. Jiuta Wainiqolo
15. Kaminieli Rasaku
16. Sireli Maqala
17. Kitone Taliga
18. Alasio Naduva

Fijiana 7s squad for Oceania 7s
1. Sesenieli Donu
2. Rusila Nagasau
3. Vani Buleki
4. Vasiti Solikoviti
5. Bulou Rokodinono
6. Rejieli Daveua
7. Lavenia Tinai
8. Tokasa Seniyasi [C]
9. Reijeli Uluinayau
10. Mereula Torooti
11. Viniana Riwai
12. Lavenia Cavuru
13. Luisa Tisolo
14. Ana Maria Naimasi
15. Roela Radiniyavuni
16. Aloesi Nakoci
17. Laisana Likuceva
18. Reapi Ulunisau

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