FIVE new caps will be Fiji’s X-factor when the Wellington Sevens kicks off next weekend.
Assistant coach Timoci Wainiqolo has banked on the debutants for the next leg of the IRB HSBC Sevens World Series after head coach Alifereti Dere named the 12-member side that flies out to New Zealand on Monday.
Exciting newcomers Jasa Veremalua, Jone Vota, Benito Eremasi, Josua Tuisova and Manasa Nayagi will be Fiji’s trump cards at the Westpac Stadium in Wellington this week.
Veteran Setefano Cakau will captain the side while Manueli Laqai, Nemani Nagusa, Ulaiasi Lawavou, Ilai Tinai, Joji Ragamate and Samisoni Viriviri are the experienced hands Wainiqolo will depend on to steer Fiji on to the world stage. “We saw that they got the talents, speed, strength and power and that’s why we got them to do the job for us,” Wainiqolo said of the new players.
“They all got something new and special and we are putting the team pattern together to achieve the goal.”
Wainiqolo said they named the best available players for the upcoming two tournaments in Wellington and Las Vegas.
He said they were determined to claim the maximum points in the upcoming leg to keep in touch with the series points leaders New Zealand.
Meanwhile Wainiqolo has asked the players that failed to make the cut to keep training hard.
The former Fiji 7s rep said they were still part of their plan and could make the team for the remaining legs of the series and even the 7s Rugby World Cup to be played in June this year.
“To the rest of the boys that didn’t make the team, don’t give up and if they do their part, we will surely make them part of our plan.
“To the people of Fiji, please continue supporting the team and we will try our best not to disappoint you in Wellington and Las Vegas.”
The side will take on Scotland in its opening pool match on Friday at 1.50pm before facing Australia at 4.46pm and Portugal in the final pool match at 8.34pm.
Fiji won the opening series tournament in Gold Coast, Australia last year.
Forwards – Ulaiasi Lawavou, Setefano Cakau, Nemani Nagusa, Manueli Laqai, Jone Vota, Jasa Veremalua.
Backs – Joji Ragamate, Ilai Tinai, Samisoni Viriviri, Josua Tuisova, Manasa Nayagi and Benito Eremasi.