PacificAus Sports Oceania Sevens Team Preview: Fijiana 7's

While the men’s team gets all the attention, the Fijiana 7s just go out there and consistently perform.

Having to always play Australia and New Zealand is never an easy task, but Fiji have relished the opportunity to go up against the world’s top two teams.

That experience of being the third best team in Oceania has translated onto the international stage, where they consistently make the quarterfinals.

The last eight is exactly where they reached five years ago at the Rio Olympics, and five members in this Oceania squad are looking to become two-time Olympians.

Luisa Tisolo leads the team in points scored, so it came as no surprise that she became the first Fijian to score a try at the Olympic Games.

Fellow Olympians Rusila Nagasau, Rejieli Daveua, Viniana Riwai and Lavenia Tinai have all played more than 70 World Series matches, with Nagasau breaking 150. All have also scored more than 150 points, with Tinai joining Tisolo in nearing the 300 total.

The shortened 2019/20 season was their best under coach Saiasi Fuli. Starting off with a runner-up finish at the Oceania Sevens, they made the quarterfinals in four of five World Series legs and even finished fifth in Sydney.

Their leading try scorer that season was Ana Maria Naimasi, who crossed the line 12 times in 19 matches. Naimasi is one of 11 players who competed during that season and have been selected for this tournament.

Though only 21-years-old and two seasons into her career, Tokasa Seniyasi’s potential is rising. Seniyasi’s promise has even earned her the team’s captaincy, leading women almost 10 years her senior.

With almost 18 months since their last international match, the Fijiana 7s will be keen to get back out on the pitch, even against fierce competition.

“It’s a very good time for us to go and play in a competition and play against the top two teams in the world who have set the bench mark and are the best in the business,” coach Fuli said.

“This is the only way we can measure our strength, team performance and individual players whom we can select later for the Olympic Games.”

Fiji’s record against Australia and New Zealand is not good. Last season Fiji only managed to score 26 points in four matches against the Aussies, while conceding 135.

New Zealand’s record is just as dominant. However, in their two matches last season, Fiji just lost by two in the first, and scored 21 points in the second, their highest total against the Kiwis.

The positive is they have recorded victories in the past. They defeated Australia in the gold medal match at the past two Pacific Games, with their only win against the Kiwis all the way back in 2013 at the Oceania Sevens in Noosa, Queensland.

With the addition of a young Barbarians team to the tournament, expect Fiji to get off the board, but I certainly would never count them out of anything.

Squad:
Sesenieli Donu, Rusila Nagasau, Vani Buleki, Vasiti Solikoviti, Bulou Rokodinono, Rejieli Daveua, Lavenia Tinai, Tokasa Seniyasi ©, Reijeli Uluinayau, Mereula Torooti, Viniana Riwai, Lavena Cavuru, Luisa Tisolo, Ana Maria Naimasi, Roela Radiniyavuni