No gold, award, dream team | Fiji misses out on series selection

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Fiji’s Filipe Sauturaga runs away for a try against Argentina during the final of the London 7s tournament yesterday. Picture: MARTIN SERAS LIMA

Defending the gold medal in France at the Paris Olympic Games next year should start now.

The Fiji 7s team should put behind its unsatisfactory performance in the 2022-23 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, reflect on the positive side and rebuild its true sporting fairy-tale back on track.

After the gold-less and award-less series, the Ben Gollings-coached side is on a cross road of whether a defence of the gold medal is possible or the title jinx of the series will remain to be part of the team as the impact of Olympic win will be huge.

After the 12-40 loss to Argentina in the pool stages, the side came back with exceptional performances until the final.

The side defeated Australia 19-5 in the quarter-final, brushed aside a spirited New Zealand outfit 19-17 in a physical and pulsating semi-final clash, but went down 35-14 to the Pumas with six men for 12 minutes. A huge improvement from the previous tournaments.

The performance of the players in London can set the pace for the Olympics. Fiji, currently is not a giant any more in the short version of the game to many opposing teams.

It missed out on all the awards at the World Rugby coffers this season.

For the past seasons, Fijian players if not one, nominated or won majority of the award categories.

The Fiji 7s team name will be engrained in the game despite being at its lowest point with the number of past victories it has.

None of the Fiji men’s names appear on the awards list. For the Rookie of the Year Ricardo Duarttee of South Africa took out the award while Vaa Apelu Maliko of Samoa claimed the Gilbert Top Try-scorer and DHL Impact Player awards.

The Fair Play Award was awarded to Japan.

The HSBC Dream Team are Rodrigo Isgro (Argentina), Leroy Carter (New Zealand), Marcos Moneta (Argentina), Akuila Rokolisoa (New Zealand), Vaa Apelu Maliko (Samoa), Luciano Gonzalez (Argentina), Henry Paterson (Australia). New Zealand duo Akuila Rokolisoa and Roderick Solo were awarded the Capgemini #Hotsepper award.

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