Fiji Airways Fiji men’s 7s head coach Ben Gollings says playmaker Napolioni Bolaca was given a chance to play at the 47th Fiji Bitter Marist 7s last weekend to see how well he could perform.
Bolaca is carrying a niggling ACL injury which requires surgery.
The 2021 Olympic Games gold medallist and former Fijian Drua squad member was part of the Fiji 1 side that lost in the main cup final at the Marist 7s last Saturday. “We brought him to the Marist 7s with the rest of the boys just to see what he is capable of even when he is injured, not putting much pressure on him though,” Gollings said.
“If he had received his operation right after his injury he would be finishing his rehab by now and would be in great shape. “We just wanted to see what he is capable of for now, but we all know full and well what he is truly capable of.”
Gollings said Bolaca needed the operation immediately, and would not be able to perform at his best if it was delayed any longer. “Even if we have just three to four minutes of game time, that will be very helpful to us.”
Bolaca is racing against time to be fit for the defence of the Olympics title in Paris next year.
“He is a very vocal player and that is a trait that we would want the rest of our players to get accustomed to,” Gollings said.
Bolaca was the top point scorer in the 2019–2020 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.
He was the first player to sign on to the Fijian Drua in 2021 before being let go last May. Meanwhile, Fiji men’s 7s side faces Samoa in its first game during the Hong Kong 7s next week.
The Pacific neighbours face-off on Friday, March 31, at 7.28pm.
A day later, our boys will take on Canada at 3.52pm before the all-important clash against Argentina at 8.37pm. The first cup quarter-final match is at 2.02pm on April 2.
Fiji is yet to win a tournament on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series this year and sits at fourth place on the points table.