New Play­ers Im­press

Fiji Sun - - Sport -

he newly re­vamped Voda­fone Fi­jian 7s team ex­ceeded the ex­pec­ta­tions of act­ing coach Na­canieli Cawanibuka. This was after the side edged Manu Samoa 28-19 to win the Ocea­nia 7s Cham­pi­onship at the ANZ Sta­dium in Suva last night. Cawanibuka said they played a re­silient and tough Samoan side but new in­clu­sions in the side lived up to ex­pec­ta­tions dur­ing the two days. “We knew it was go­ing to be a tough game, Samoa did not make it easy but the new boys in the squad really ex­ceeded my ex­pec­ta­tions,” Cawanibuka said. “But we will take this win and re­cover, re­view the game and start again on Mon­day. “Win­ning has boosted the team’s mo­men­tum for the World Sevens Se­ries next month.” Samoa’s Gor­don Langk­ilde scored the first try for the vis­i­tors but Kalione Na­soko scored two tries with the last one by Joeli Lu­tu­mailagi to give Fiji a 21-5 lead at half­time. Samoa stepped up in the sec­ond spell with a try to Samoa Toloa and Malu Falaniko to close the gap but Fiji held their de­fence and kept their pa­tience as Ru­si­ate Tadu­lala and Ki­tione Taliga’s tries sealed the deal for the home side, Taliga added eight points from his boot to give the fi­nal score 28-19. Manu Samoa coach Stephen Betham said due to lack of ex­pe­ri­ence by ma­jor­ity of their play­ers, they could not fin­ish prop­erly. “It was a great fi­nal, we had our chances to­wards the end but we didn’t take them and I think that is all due to in­ex­pe­ri­ence. “We only have three se­nior play­ers in the team and the rest are new,” Betham said. “This tour­na­ment has been good for the new boys, now we know where they are and what we need to work on and we will start on Mon­day to pre­pare for Dubai.

“A few of the boys have lifted their hands so it has been a good tour­na­ment for us as a whole.” With the pres­ence of sevens leg­end Sir Gor­don Ti­et­jens at the side of the Samoan team, Betham says it is the play­ers and what they do that counts the most. “Ti­et­jens has been a won­der­ful help but you know it all comes down to the play­ers and we are very proud of the way they played,” he said.

“Hats off to Fiji, they are the Olympic cham­pi­ons and if there is any­one you want to mea­sure your­self to, it is def­i­nitely Fiji. “I think the boys know that it will not be an easy task in the World Sevens Se­ries as we have a lot to work on.”

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