Fiji Sevens ring changes for Dubai
Seven new players have forced their way into Alifereti Dere's Fiji Sevens team for the second and third rounds of the HSBC Sevens World Series in Dubai and South Africa.
In announcing the side, Dere retains only five experienced players in his squad and does not pick Alipate Ratu Raitini, who is unavailable due to injury.
However, in addition to having Gold Coast skipper Levani Botia, he does recall Setefano Cakau to captain the side and can also count on the outstanding qualities of Ilai Tinai and Joji Raqamate to lead the seven new caps.
“I know that they outnumber the experienced players and they will all be making their debut in Dubai, but I have picked the best and fittest team and I'm confident that they have what it takes to win in Dubai and South Africa,” Dere said.
Inia Tukere, Gasaudua Tube, Vilitati Sokiveta, Maleli Bula, John Stewart, Peni Vaciloa and Peni Maka are the new boys in the side.
FRU Rugby Development Manager, Sale Sorovaki, spoke on behalf of the Fiji Rugby Union in reminding the team that Dubai has not been a happy hunting ground for Fiji.
“In 1998 Fiji won in Dubai and since then we have only managed to reach the final five times," he said. "I just want to reiterate to the team that you have a tough task ahead of you to try and win this second leg.
“Remember that when you go out onto that field that you are playing for your family, for Fiji and for yourselves but you must also play under God’s guidance. I wish you all the best and God speed.”
As the Gold Coast winners, Fiji head Pool A and face matches on day one against Kenya, Spain and Scotland.
Fiji squad: Forwards - Setefano Cakau (C), Levani Veivuke, Inia Tukere, Gasaudua Tube, Vilitati Nadialobo, Peni Maka. Backs - Ilai Tinai, Isikeli Vuruna, Joji Raqamate, Maleli Bula, John Stewart, Peni Vaciloa.
Video: Fiji win Gold Coast Sevens