‘Time to bridge gap’ | Kotonibau says no pathways for 7s

Listen to this article:

Fiji’s Ilikimi Torosi eyes the tryline aginst New Zealand during the Emirates Dubai Rugby 7’s 2023, Friday 1st December 2023. Piicture: TRYSPORT IMAGES

Former Fiji 7s rep Isake Katonibau has highlighted key areas that required attention to improve 7s rugby in the country.

Katonibau said there was a big gap that needed to be addressed to get the best national 7s players.

Fiji lost the main semi-final at the Dubai 7s on Sunday night going down 7-14 to South Africa in the semi final.

The Ben Gollings-coached side lost the bronze medal play-off against New Zealand, 12-17.

Following this loss, frustrated fans took to social media platforms to express their disappointments calling on Fiji Rugby Union to re-consider the contract of head coach Gollings.

Speaking during the groundbreaking ceremony of the Stonewriters Legacy Institute sponsored 7s rugby academy, Katonibau confirmed there is no pathway to bring players from the grassroots to elite level.

“There is a big gap, it will take us one year to teach all players playing in Fiji to reach that level.

“Teams from overseas has changed they have taken 7s rugby heavily, they have set their pathway, their development process but here in Fiji we still depending on grassroot level,” Katonibau said.

“That big gap from grassroot to international level is where us Stonewriters come in to help bridge the gap,” he added.

This statement was supported by Gollings who believed Fiji needed to have a stronger base and with Stonewriters idea of 7s academy would assist Fiji 7s team.

“The opportunity is great and fantastic some of the things we do know with 7s is national sport and the sport is the heart of the nation.

“It’s important to create a strong base and the ability to develop these players to stay competitive. It’s exciting to work on this new project,” Gollings said.