Fiji and Australia boosted ahead of NZ Sevens
The Fiji Barbarians defeated the Fiji Warriors 31-12 to win the Uprising Fiji International Sevens at the weekend in Lautoka.
The win was a timely boost for Fiji Sevens coach Alifereti Dere who was using the tournament as preparation for the fourth round of the HSBC Sevens World Series in New Zealand on 1-2 February.
Setefano Cakau, who was named player of the tournament, guided the Barbarians side to the victory and said he would use the experience from the tournament ahead of the Hertz Sevens in Wellington, and the USA Sevens in Las Vegas a week later.
"This is the first time we played together as a team and this definitely has set a good platform for the upcoming tournaments.
"I want to thank all the players for the good performance in this tournament."
Cakau also thanked the organisers for honouring him with the top individual award adding it would not have been possible without the support of his fellow team mates.
Australia coach Michael O'Connor also received a boost after the weekend's action, with the return of several key players from injury helping the Aussie Thunderbolts development side defeat Samoa 19-14 in the Plate final.
The tournament was the first for members of the Australian men’s Sevens squad this year, as O’Connor looks to firm up selections ahead of the resumption of the HSBC Sevens World Series in less than two weeks.
“We were looking for the opportunity to improve ahead of Wellington and this is a quality tournament featuring a lot of strong international competition,” O’Connor said.
“For us, it was a great chance face quality opposition. I saw some improvement from Day 1 to Day 2 and were able to expose more players to elite Sevens.”