Rugby: Despite changes, coach confident Fiji can win second straight Sevens tournament


Fiji's rugby sevens coach Ben Ryan conducts a training session in Hong Kong on April 4, 2016.
Fiji's rugby sevens coach Ben Ryan conducts a training session in Hong Kong on April 4, 2016.PHOTO: AFP

SINGAPORE- Having won the Hong Kong Sevens series with a thrilling victory over New Zealand, Fiji's Rugby Sevens coach Ben Ryan is confident the team can build on their momentum to win their second consecutive Sevens series title.

"We're the best team on the circuit when we play at our best, and that is reflected in our results and statistics," said coach Ben Ryan.

Fiji currently sit atop the Sevens standings, thanks to wins in the Sydney, Las Vegas and Hong Kong tournaments.

"However, winning back-to-back tournaments is going to be very challenging," said Ryan. "Hong Kong is so draining, so that's probably going to be the biggest challenge we've had all season, especially with the amount of changes we're going to make."

The Fiji squad are making five changes to their side that won the Hong Kong leg. One of the key players missing this weekend is Savenaca Rawaca, Fiji's highest try-scorer. He is sitting out the Singapore Sevens due to a hamstring injury.

"His injury isn't serious, but we just wanted to rest him. He's played a lot of rugby and we thought it would be best if he went home to recover," said Ryan.

One challenge facing the Fiji side this week is integrating the new players into the squad before the tournament starts.

"We only have two training sessions on the (National Stadium) field, so the new boys are going to have to quickly get on the same page as the boys who played in Hong Kong. It won't always be fluid, but over the two days of the tournament, we should get there," he said.

He was speaking on the sidelines of the launch of the Changi Rugby Sevens exhibition, which runs until the end of the month. Some 80 passengers at Chang Airport's Terminal 3 transit area witnessed the Fiji sevens team perform the traditional Fiji wardance, the Cibi. They were also able to try out a rugby game simulator and received customised T-shirts during an autograph session with the team.