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Fiji 7s head coach Ben Ryan speaks to the media after announcing the 12-member team to Las Vegas and Wellington as manager Paula Biu listens on during a press conference in Suva yesterday. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU
NATIONAL sevens coach Ben Ryan has named the core of his squad that featured at the Dubai and George tournaments to travel to the HSBC Sevens World Series events in Las Vegas and Wellington.
Ten players from the previous leg, including skipper Osea Kolinisau, were retained while former skipper Levani Botia and Flying Fijians scrumhalf Henry Seniloli are the only two new inclusions in the final 12 announced in Suva yesterday.
Botia and Seniloli replace Waisea Nacuqu and Yamacia winger Mosese Mawalu; Nacuqu was initially dropped from the squad while Mawalu was named as non-travelling reserve.
Other players such as Pio Tuwai, Semi Kunatani, Samuela Saqiwa, Jonah Tuitoga, Donasio Ratubuli, Leo Naikasau, Benito Masilevu, Emosi Mulevoro and Samisoni Viriviri have again cemented their spots.
Ryan said he was happy with the final team although the side would face a tough challenge with the time difference and travel.
“I am happy with the team,” he said.
“It is a strong side, no doubt about it now. But we got a hard start with the time difference and the travel to Vegas.
“This is certainly a stronger side, if not stronger than the team that went to Dubai and Port Elizabeth.”
Ryan has again stuck with three specialist forwards in Tuwai, Saqiwa and Kunatani. He said the abilities of Masilevu, Botia, Tuitoga and Naikasau could also be used as cover upfront and also slotted in the backline.
Fiji is drawn in Pool B with Australia, New Zealand and Scotland at the Las Vegas tournament.
The 12-member Fiji 7s team: Benito Masilevu, Donasio Ratubuli, Emosi Mulevoro, Henry Seniloli, Jona Tuitoga, Leo Naikasau, Levani Botia, Pio Tuwai, Osea Kolinisau, Samisoni Viriviri, Samuela Saqiwa, Semi Kunatani
Apisai Domolailai, Marika Vunibaka, Mosese Mawalu, Viliame Mata.
Article source: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=257256