Big 4 Pass Test

Ben Ryan: The new boys made an in­stant im­pact which was great. The ben­e­fit with th­ese guys is they have played sev­ens be­fore so that helps.

Fiji Sun - - Front Page - OSEA BOLA SUVA

Our four over­seas-based play­ers have done enough to book their places for the Rio Olympics. Even when they were trail­ing 15-5 against Aus­tralia at half­time last night in their quar­ter­fi­nal match, coach Ben Ryan showed his con­fi­dence in them.

“I feel re­laxed here on the side­lines be­cause I have con­fi­dence in you,” Ryan told them.

Leone Nakarawa (Glas­gow War­riors), Jo­sua Tuisova (Toulon), Waisea Nayacalevu (Stade Fran­cais) and Samisoni Viriviri (Mon­tauban) re­paid his faith in them. Viriviri scored the win­ning try and they de­fended res­o­lutely be­fore the fi­nal whis­tle to win 17-15. Ryan was not only re­lieved but he was beam­ing from ear to ear. He knew the four had passed the test af­ter a long 7s lay­off. They have slot­ted in with ease and com­po­sure as if they had never left. It would be a ma­jor sur­prise if they don’t make it to Ryan’s wider squad for Rio.

It was a big call for Ryan to leave out prom­i­nent play­ers Pio Tuwai, Semi Ku­natani and Vil­iame Mata.

He could re­gret it later if he didn’t try out the four. And they have lived up to his ex­pec­ta­tion up to the quar­ters. But it only took Ryan one game to shake off the cob­webs and doubt. “I was ner­vous on the bench but I am happy we got Scot­land out the way. “I’m a lit­tle bit wor­ried whether our Europe -based play­ers will be up to stan­dard. Per­haps I’m wor­ry­ing about some­thing I shouldn’t,” Ryan told Rugby World. The in­stant im­pact made by Nakarawa, Tuisova,

Nayacalevu and Viriviri not only lifted the stan­dard of Fiji’s per­for­mance on the World Sev­ens Se­ries to a new di­men­sion.

It has shifted com­pe­ti­tion for spots in Rio into over­drive. Ryan’s pre­vi­ous call of stick­ing with the ‘Is­land Boys’ for the ‘Road To Gold’ should be a thing of the past as it be would be hard to ig­nore the im­pact of our Euro­pean Fi­jians. “The new boys made an in­stant im­pact which was great. The ben­e­fit with th­ese guys is they have played 7s be­fore so that helps.” They showed their prow­ess in the de­mo­li­tion of Scot­land (38-12), Wales (33-14) and Samoa (42-5).

TUISOVA

Dubbed the ‘Fi­jian Bus’ af­ter he bumped off two Samoa de­fend­ers, he should read­ily make Ryan’s Olympic squad. He will def­i­nitely give Save­naca Rawaca com­pe­ti­tion for spots on the wing. He made his de­but for Fiji at the 2013 Welling­ton 7s be­fore sign­ing a con­tract with Toulon.

NAKARAWA

Sen­sa­tional in the off­loads, good vi­sion and un­der­stand­ing of the game. It would be hard for Ryan to ig­nore the Ka­davu na­tive. Onus on Tuwai, Mata and Ku­natani to prove their worth. He played for Fiji at the 2013 Sev­ens Rugby World Cup in Moscow.

NAYACALEVU

A big plus for the Stade Fran­cais Rugby Club Player of the Year. He can play as a for­ward and out wide. Strong con­tender for the Olympic squad. He played for Fiji at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Eng­land.

VIRIVIRI

The Dratabu, Nadi na­tive is an in­tel­li­gent 7s winger and knows how to cre­ate and wait for sup­port. Should pro­vide com­pe­ti­tion to Rawaca and Tuisova on the wing spot for Rio. Viriviri played for the Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s team from 2011 to 2014. The four play­ers should make it into a 24-strong train­ing squad for the Olympics an­nounced af­ter Lon­don 7s next week. Ryan aims to cre­ate a one-to-one bat­tle for each of the 12 Rio places that must be named by mid-July. When the cut for the fi­nal 12 is done ex­pect to see the names, Viriviri, Tuisova, Nayacalevu and Nakarawa on the list.

Photo: Ian Muir

Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s rep Leone Nakarawa proved a hand­full for the Aus­tralians dur­ing the Paris 7s Cup quar­ter­fi­nal last night. Fiji won 17-15.

Jo­sua Tuisova.

Samisoni Viriviri.

Waisea Nayacalevu.

Photo: Ian Muir

Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s rep Waisea Nayacalevu at­tacks against Samoa yes­ter­day.

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