He­roes cel­e­brate Se­ries Vic­tory

Fiji Sun - - Sport: Business: - Photo: World Rugby.

.... Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s reps cel­e­brate in Lon­don yes­ter­day af­ter win­ning the 2015-16 World Sevens Se­ries ti­tle for the sec­ond year in a row. Back: (from left) Jasa Vere­malua, Waisea Nay­a­calevu, Ki­tione Taliga, Vil­iame Mata, Ma­sivesi Dakuwaqa, Api­sai Do­mo­lailai, Samisoni Viriviri, Vatemo Ravou­vou, Isake Ka­toni­bau. Front: Amenoni Nasi­lasila, Pio Tuwai, Jar­ryd Hayne, Sere­maia Tuwai and Osea Kolin­isau.

Jar­ryd Hayne’s Olympic am­bi­tion still burns brightly af­ter the weekend’s Lon­don Sevens tour­na­ment, but he faces a nearim­pos­si­ble task to force his way into Fiji’s 12-man Rio squad. On cur­rent form, and hav­ing had barely 15 min­utes of com­bined match time across six Sevens games at Twick­en­ham, he won’t be picked.

This is a Fi­jian side cel­e­brat­ing back-to-back Rugby Sevens World Se­ries vic­to­ries, se­cured with a fourth-place fin­ish at the Lon­don tour­na­ment, which was won by Scot­land who up­set South Africa 27-26 with a last-gasp vic­tory in the fi­nal.

This is also a Fi­jian side with six world-class play­ers who didn’t even play this weekend.

Hayne is a world-class ath­lete him­self, a two-time Dally M medal win­ner who tran­si­tioned into the NFL, play­ing played last season with the San Fran­cisco 49ers.

But to get into Fiji’s team with less than three months un­til the Rio Games ap­pears to be the most daunt­ing sport­ing chal­lenge he’s ever faced. “At the mo­ment, I’m be­hind the eight ball and I’ve got no prob­lem with that. It’s about work­ing hard and get­ting there,” Hayne said. “They’re the world champs. Some­times in life, it’s not about suc­cess, but it’s about the ex­pe­ri­ence and just be­ing part of that team.

“(It’s the) first Fi­jian team to win back-to-back ti­tles and they’ve got a bunch of su­per­stars who are go­ing to be a joy to train with and a joy to play with. “It’s not about com­ing over and mak­ing the team, it’s about giv­ing me an op­por­tu­nity to make a team.” Hayne now faces six weeks of in­tense train­ing in Fiji to prove to coach Ben Ryan that he’s not only fit enough for Rio, but good enough to dis­place one of the team’s estab­lished stars. “Our cup­board is not just deep, it’s ab­so­lutely lit­tered with fan­tas­tic tal­ent,” Ryan said. “We had a very light week this week...when we’re run­ning up 100-me­tre sand dunes, when these guys are the fittest rugby play­ers Fiji has ever had and they’re still throw­ing up af­ter ses­sions, his lac­tate’s go­ing to be go­ing into over­drive.

“Whether he’ll be able to tol­er­ate that in a short time frame is a se­ri­ous ques­tion.” Hayne had a huge amount to do to com­pete, Ryan said.

“This isn’t just a ran­dom side, this is the best side in the world in the last two years.

“A Fi­jian side that plays a very high-tempo, high-risk game that re­quires enor­mous amounts of skill and he has that, and enor­mous amounts of fit­ness, and he hasn’t got that at the mo­ment.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Fiji

© PressReader. All rights reserved.