Rugby: Fijian flair elevates Daveta to favourites status at SCC International sevens

Penguins prop and skipper Gareth Bautz, at the Singapore Cricket Club, was in the NSW team who stunned Daveta last month en route to third place in the Central Coast sevens. While he rates the Fijians as favourites, he hopes they will be a bit over-c
Penguins prop and skipper Gareth Bautz, at the Singapore Cricket Club, was in the NSW team who stunned Daveta last month en route to third place in the Central Coast sevens. While he rates the Fijians as favourites, he hopes they will be a bit over-confident and that this will open the door for others.ST PHOTO: NIVASH JOYVIN

Despite recent loss to Waratahs, their style and flair will determine bid for record 7th title

He was part of the New South Wales Waratahs sevens team who pulled off a surprise win against powerhouses Daveta during last month's Central Coast sevens in Sydney.

But Gareth Bautz expects the Fijians to come out with all guns blazing at this weekend's Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens (SCC 7s), as they chase a record seventh title in Singapore.

Daveta boast Jerry Tuwai, who was part of his country's Olympic gold medal-winning team, and will start as overwhelming favourites among the 16 teams to lift the Ablitt Cup at the Padang.

Bautz, the 25-year-old prop and captain of Penguins International RFC, said: "When we beat Daveta, they had been together for only a week and were still finding their feet. They've had a month together and I expect them to be much improved and ready to go out there and assert themselves on the field."

Last year's runners-up have recruited former All BlackSosene Anesi in the hopes of a first title since 2010 and he said: "We will move the ball about. We want to play an open and fast game."

No one in world rugby does that better than the Fijians, whose distinctive style of quick and intricate passes won them back-to-back World Rugby Sevens Series titles before their triumph at the Rio Games.

  • 2016 SCC 7s

    WHEN: Today and tomorrow (pool stage), tomorrow (q-finals), Sunday (q-finals, s-finals and finals)

    WHERE: Padang

    TICKETS: Available at apactix.com and start from $10.

    TEAMS - POOL A

    Daveta (Fij)

    Sunnybank (Aus)

    InterOil Turagus (Png)

    Froggies Sevens Rugby Club (Fra)

    POOL B

    Penguin International RFC (Eng)

    France Development Team

    England Academy

    RAF Spitfires Rugby Union (Eng)

    POOL C

    Casuarina Cougars (Aus)

    Palmyra Rugby Union Club (Aus)

    Singapore national team

    Tamariva Rugby Football Club (Jpn)

    POOL D

    Singapore Cricket Club

    Iskandar Raiders (Mas)

    NS Wanderers Rugby Club (Mas)

    East Arnhem Rugby (Aus)

Alexander Legarde, captain of France's development team, may be a potential opponent but he is also a fan of the Pacific Islanders' flair and eye-catching style.

He said: "They don't play the same rugby as us. What they do with the ball, with their flicks and quick off-loads, is fantasy."

Daveta skipped last year's edition of the SCC and their last championship in the Republic came in 2012.

Tuwai, 27, said: "We will not be taking any team for granted in the tournament. The beauty of sevens is that any team can win on the day...

"We have some exciting young players who are travelling out of Fiji for the first time, so we are looking forward to seeing them develop over the course of the tour... If we trust our patterns and execute the plan, then we are confident of going deep in the tournament."

Singapore will be represented by SCC and the national team. National captain Sidney Kumar said: "We're up against some top teams but hopefully with the home crowd behind us, we can put in some good performances for our supporters."

Bautz is another player hoping to upset the form book. He said: "The Fijians are world-class but maybe they'll be a bit over-confident and that would work to our advantage."

The Nov 4-6 tournament will also feature the schools and colleges competition, which ranges from Under-14 to Under-18 divisions.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 04, 2016, with the headline 'Fiji flair elevates Daveta to top team'. Print Edition | Subscribe