Rinakama praises new players’ performance

Vatemo Ravouvou on attack against USA in the Cup quarter final of the Dubai 7s. Picture: MARTIN SERAS LIMA

FORMER national 15s coach Joji Rinakama has praised the performance of the three new players in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series in Dubai.

Rinakama said the debutants Filimoni Tuimaba, Beniamino Vota and Vilimone Botitu had shown their worth.

“Seeing them play their first HSBC 7s Series, they have really proven themselves and I am grateful to coach Gareth Baber for having faith in them,” he said.

“There are just some areas that they need to work on.

“They really put on a good performance and as always new players do struggle when they play their first 7s tournament but as they keep playing their confidence starts to grow.

“In 7s it’s a matter of a short time and they need to minimise on the mistakes.

“Make sure they maintain discipline at all times on and off the field.

“For the new players when they are given more game time they will start to open up on the field,” Rinakama said.

Fiji progressed from their pool unbeaten.

They burst out of the blocks in their opening match, powering past France 41-0 with Sevuloni Mocenacagi scoring the first of their seven tries by six different players.

They combined prolific attack with solid defence.

Scotland also started well with a 35-14 win over Kenya and almost snatched a last-gasp victory over Fiji when the two met next.

Gareth Baber’s men held a nine-point lead going into the final two minutes before Sam Pecqueur’s try set up a box-office finish.

Jamie Farndale crossed in the final moments but delayed his grounding and his foot strayed out of play and the potential match-winning try was chalked off with Fiji escaping with a 21-19 victory.

Scotland was able to put their disappointment aside to earn a 14-14 draw against France, which proved enough to secure second place and in the final pool match of the day Fiji ensured their clean-sweep with another try-filled performance.

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