Sport: Time running out for Fiji's Olympic 7s hopefuls
One week left for Fiji's sevens players to make the cut for Rio.
Time is running out for Fiji's sevens players hoping to force their way into the final squad for the Rio Olympics, which will be unveiled next weekend.
22 men and 19 women have spent the past four weeks in their respective camps, being put through exhaustive fitness sessions and playing inter-squad matches against their fellow hopefuls.
Men's head coach Ben Ryan says the plan is coming together well, players have run 50km each, last week alone, with the intensity, pace and workload on players building week by week.
BEN RYAN: 16th of July is when the Prime Minister will name the side...We've got 22 in camp at the moment with just Isake Katonibau that's been moved out of the squad. I'll make a few more (cuts) probably on Friday and we will cut it down for the final week before we select the 12 so it's highly competitive. We were planning on dropping a couple of boys last week but there was no valid reason to do that. Everyone is training so hard and sacrificing so much, I wanted to give every player that was doing that the longest opportunity to try to push their place.
VINNIE WYLIE: At the end of the World Series you would have perhaps has 12 players in mind and maybe last week you had 12 players in mind. If you had to pick them today, is that 12 changing constantly?
BR: We've lost not a single one of our players from injury from the World Series and that's meant I've got a nice deep cupboard of players so it's not a 12 - if you told me today to name that side I'd find it very difficult. I'd give you 15 names probably with confidence but really I would say there's about 17/18/19 players that are fighting hard at the moment and fact that we've got 22 in camp shows you that they've all still got a chance...I've got to remind myself all the time that if I'm seeing a world class player on the field I've got to make sure he is putting in world class training every one and they're showing all the traits that put them down in the squad in the first place. It's easy for a coach to pick on a face and hoping that come the big day will come the big performance but we don't do that - we will pick on what we see, the boys know that - so they really are having to flog it out every session but that has meant I will leave trainings to the last minute for selection and give them every chance and also give me as much clarity as I possibly can.
VW: How are you finding this unprecedented level of attention: not just on yourself, on the team, adding the likes of Jarryd Hayne into the mix and obviously the women's team 0 the Fijiana - are going to be there too. This is probably as big as it can get for Fiji Rugby right now?
BR: I've got to say without trying to tell fibs I'm really enjoying all of that that's come with it. At the end of the day, we're about to go to the world's biggest sporting event and with that comes enormous amount of spotlight on you at certain times and different types of pressure. We've been going through that for the last five/six weeks as back to back World Series champions, we've been getting more press than any of the other sevens teams in the world in the last two years and all of that's going to help us because we can deal with it well. We did have a bit of a shock to the system when Jarryd first came in in London and the attitude of some of those Australian journalists...It's been highly entertaining and exciting really the spotlight on Fiji sevens - it's well deserved. We are where we are on form and on merit and we're going into the Olympic Games in the first sevens competition ever as number one seeds and favourites. We're not hiding away from that fact - we feel we have the best team on the planet and we want to make sure we enjoy ourselves and put in our best performances in Rio.
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