Fiji wins back to back gold medals in rugby 7s
The Fiji 7s and Fijiana teams have successfully defended their gold medals title at the XVI Pacific Games.
The Fiji 7s team defeated host, Samoa, 7-5 and Fijiana overcame a determined Australian side 14-5 to retain their titles.
Fiji 7s team head coach, Gareth Baber said he brought a young side to the Games and they did what they came to do.
“They managed themselves through the weekend, some different experiences and learnings that they get and that was all the whole purpose of it to see some of this talents like we did in the finals,” Gareth said.
“We knew that it was going to be tough in the finals, we knew it was going to be tough with Samoa, it was going to be physical, the biggest thing you need to do is obviously keep your emotions in control, I thought that we did that well, and obviously the crowd played a big part and we didn’t have a lot of ball but what we did was supported each other and we defended well, and that’s all about control and emotions.”
Fiji got two of its players in the sin bin during the match, and Gareth said that is part of such physical matches.
“When we play against Samoa it’s going to be that, it’s going to go to that level, but we held on.
“We knew when we went to the sinbins we had to work very hard to ensure that the six did the job for the seven.”
Gareth said the intensity of the final was similar to playing the Manu Samoa in the HSBC final.
“I haven’t played here and that’s an added experience and so as most of our players who are used to their home crowd.
“But they have had a tough weekend, they had pressure this morning, but they responded well in terms of what Samoa did, so we knew coming into the finals will be a whole new experience for our group. We scored early but then we defended our lives for the rest of the game.”
Fijiana head coach, Saiasi Fuli said the girls maintained their composure and stuck to the game plan of coming to Samoa, and that’s defending their medal.
“It is what it is, that is the game of rugby,” he said.
“We knew that Australia was the outside influence in terms of the setup of the pool and we just need to double up our effort and continue to work hard and apply pressure and it forces the opponents to make mistakes.
“I think for both the men and women, the defense is the determining factor. The girls are just playing for pride and restoring the game of rugby in Fiji.”
He said it was a quick turnaround time as they had just returned from France.
“I had to rest a few girls and introduce some young girls, and the whole idea is to expose these girls and their talents in the game of rugby.”