Fiji 7s coach Gollings names four debutantes for LA and Vancouver 7s


Fijian 7s Coach Ben Gollings has included four debutantes in his 13-member squad for Los Angeles and Vancouver tournaments.

Army duo, Anasa Qaranivalu and Rokoua Rasaku, Police forward Alusio Vakadranu and Uluinakau utility Ponipate Loganimasi have booked their place to Los Angeles 7s.

Gollings said “We needed a little bit of shakeup and bringing new energy into the squad, something we have been looking to do for a number of weeks and the Coral Coast and Nawaka 7s gave us that opportunity to see them coming to light.”

Gollings said these four players bring different dynamics to the team and he believes this is an ideal opportunity for them to shine on the World stage.

“Young Rasaku who has been on form locally is a strong player and of a different dynamic to some of our players, Ponipate has been brilliant and is someone we had our eye for a while. This is also an opportunity for Anasa, he has been playing well in the Skipper Cup and for the Army 7s team and will add more firepower to our forward pack than we have Alusio, who deserves a sport as he has been playing consistently well for Police.

The forward pack will be assisted by the experienced hands of Josua Vakurinabili, Jeremaia Matana and Tevita Dugunu while Jerry Tuwai, Waisea Nacuqu, Manueli Maisamoa and Iowane Teba will guide the backs.

The notable exclusions are Vuiviawa Naduvalo, Sevuloni Mocenacagi and Alasio Naduva.

Gollings added “We will pick on form and character plus it is important players know that there is that level of competition which is going to keep them on their toes so we want players to keep pushing themselves and set the standards that we want in the team.”

Tevita Daugunu has been named the captain for the next two legs.

“It’s not necessarily dropping Waisea Nacuqu from the captain but I just wanted to free up him a little bit of airspace so that he could just focus on himself.

Tevita comes in with the experience leading the side and he will be supported by the likes of Waisea Nacuqu, Jerry Tuwai and other senior players” said Gollings.

Daugunu said he is ready to take up the task with the assistance of the core group of senior players.

“I’m really thankful and honored to be given the opportunity again to lead the side and I’m really looking forward to it especially after spending time on my rehab. It will be a big task but there is no pressure at all because I have senior players who support me” said Dugunu.

The Fiji Airways Fijian 7s is pooled with Australia, Kenya and Japan. They take on Japan at 7.05am on Sunday week, then faces Kenya at 10.18am before playing Australia in the final pool match at 2.05pm.

Fiji Airways Fijian 7s squad to LA and Vancouver:

Tevita Daugunu {c}
Josese Batirerega
Jeremaia Matana
Anasa Qaranivalu
Alusio Vakadranu
Josua Vakurinabili
Jerry Tuwai
Pilipo Bukayaro
Waisea Nacuqu
Manueli Maisamoa
Ponipate Loganimasi
Rokoua Rasaku
Iowane Teba.