Fiji Sevens look to future with fresh talent
Fiji's Sevens coaches Alifereti Dere and Etuate Waqa have called up a number of young new players for pre-season fitness tests as preparations begin for the HSBC Sevens World Series 2012/13.
Last season Fiji matched Series champions New Zealand in capturing three individual tournament Cup titles - in Australia, Hong Kong and England - and finished only six points behind the 10-time winners.
The 2012/13 Series is due to kick off on Australia's Gold Coast on 13-14 October, where the Fijians will be the defending champions.
The coaching duo bade farewell to Emosi Vucago last season and have since lost significant firepower in Nikola Matawalu, who has signed for the Glasgow Warriors, and Joeli Lutumailagi, who is out injured. However, the Fijian talent pool is famously deep and the coaches are said to have been impressed by several younger players during the country's domestic Digicel Cup competition and development tours.
Significantly, as well as setting out their plans for the coming season, Dere and Waqa are also looking ahead to Rio 2016 and Sevens Rugby's Olympic debut.
"The squad has a mixture of players. We have named some Under 19 players who are eyed for the future, but we are not just looking at the first leg," said Waqa.
"We want to get a database of the players who can qualify for the 2016 Rio Olympics and the World Cup (Sevens)."
Among the newcomers is Australia-based Waisea Varani, who is the only overseas-based player named for the fitness tests set to held in Laucala.
Players invited to fitness tests: M. Laqai (Tailevu), S. Saqiwa (Nadi), S. Rabonaqica (Nadroga), S. Dawai (Lautoka), U. Lawavou (Nadroga), L. Botia (Namosi), J. Raqamate (Namosi), I. Tinai (Namosi), N.Verekauta (Namosi), J. Tuiova (Nadi), W. Nagusu (Nadi), K. Taliga.(Nadi), D. Ratubuli, Mau, J. Tuwai (Naitasiri), T. Raibevu (Tailevu), S. Cakau (Namosi), T. Vakadranu (Naitasiri), E. Vueti (Tailevu), G. Tube (Nadi), A. Domolailai (Nadroga), T. Vuadreu, Dan Rawaqa (Lautoka), Waisea Varani (Aust), I. Ratuva (Nadroga), I. Tukere (Tailevu), Viriviri (Nadroga), I.Katonibau (Tailevu), L. Taburua (Suva), A.Waqatabu (Nadroga), W. Votu (Lautoka), A. Ratini (Tailevu), T. Natoga (Nadroga), P. Ravai (Nadroga), L. Ratumuri (Nadi), Saimoni Tagitagilevu (Ba), Mosese Varamusu (Ovalau), Marika Kaseta (Ovalau), John Stewart (Naitasiri), Nemani Wakaya (Naitasiri), Jonetani Ralulu (Nadroga), Josaia Lotawa (Suva), Sakiusa Gavidi (Nadroga) and Osea Kolinisau (Suva).
Classic match: Watch highlights of Fiji winning Hong Kong 2012