NEW 7S COACH GARETH BABER

PICKS RUPENI CAUCAU

Fiji Sun - - Frontpage - OSEA BOLA Edited by Leone Cabenatabua Feed­back: os­eab@fi­jisun.com.fj

Newly ap­pointed Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s head coach Gareth Baber has played against our na­tional reps in­clud­ing sev­ens leg­end Waisale Serevi. But the Welsh­man rates speed­ster Rupeni Caucau as the one who has im­pressed him over the years. “I don’t think I could name just one be­cause there are so many,” Baber said. “So many leg­endary play­ers have come out of Fiji, Serevi, Wil­liam Ry­der, Joe Roko­coko, To­masi Cama, Me­sake Rasari, Noa Nadruku “Fiji has thrown up some un­be­liev­able tal­ent over the past 20 years. But one of my spe­cial mem­o­ries for Wales was play­ing against Rupeni Caucau in the Wales leg of the World Sev­ens Se­ries. “I have never seen a player move so fast but look like he was do­ing noth­ing. He is quite a spe­cial player.” Baber, who will take up the coach­ing role be­fore the Welling­ton 7s in Jan­uary, has been closely mon­i­tor­ing the Fi­jian play­ers. And he will add more names to the list to the cur­rent ex­tended squad who re­turn to camp at the Up­ris­ing Beach Re­sort to­mor­row.

“I am hop­ing that there will be a few new names to add to this list this sea­son as well,” Baber said

He said he is look­ing to re­lo­cate to Fiji in Jan­uary.

“I’ve played in Fiji in what I be­lieve was the fore­run­ner to the Co­ral Coast Sev­ens back in 1995-96,” he said. “We ended up play­ing the whole tour­na­ment in a typhoon.

“I still have great mem­o­ries of a fan­tas­tic time with some very lovely peo­ple.

“Even­tu­ally I want my family to join me and ex­pe­ri­ence life in Fiji but at the mo­ment with the kids still in their school term they will stay in Hong Kong in the short­term.” Baber played for Wales in the World Se­ries over a pe­riod of six sea­sons and played in two Com­mon­wealth Games and two Sev­ens Rugby World Cups. He coached Wales on the World Se­ries and then Hong Kong Sev­ens win­ning two Asian Se­ries ti­tles and a sil­ver medal in the Asian Games. He also had seven years as coach with the Cardiff Blues win­ning the Euro­pean Chal­lenge Cup and the EDF Cup. “I have played and coached sev­ens against Fiji pre­vi­ously sev­eral times,” Baber said. “To be hon­est there were not a lot of pos­i­tive mem­o­ries. “I was a proud Welsh­man when we once beat the Fi­jians at the Lon­don Sev­ens Cup quar­ter­fi­nals at Twick­en­ham.”

Newly ap­pointed Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s head coach Gareth Baber.

Rupeni Caucau.

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