1 Aug 2016

Sport: Fijiana women aiming to trump men for historic Olympic 7s medal

1:17 pm on 1 August 2016

The Fiji women's sevens rugby coach says his team are flying under the radar but have the ability to make Olympic history in Rio.

The top-seeded men's team have attracted a lot of attention and are top seeds and gold medal favourites in Brazil but it's the Fijiana who will have first shot at winning Fiji's maiden Olympic medal.

The teams have been in camp in Chile after spending a couple of weeks together in Fiji.

Coaching Director of Women’s Rugby in Fiji, Chris Cracknell.

Coaching Director of Women’s Rugby in Fiji, Chris Cracknell. Photo: RNZI / Vinnie Wylie

Fijiana coach Chris Cracknell said because the rugby world's eyes are on the men's team it has taken pressure off his squad.

But the chance to be history makers has occupied his mind since finding out the women would play before the men in Rio.

"It's been on my mind for a couple of months now really. That pressure I don't think has been put on the girls because I don't think people at home have really twigged it - I think it's still a lot of the pressure is on the boys - but you know the girls could definitely be the first team to win a medal and that's the whole reason why we're going there, and I fully believe that this group of girls have the ability to do that."

The Fijiana finished eight in the Women's World Sevens Series in each of the past two seasons.

Chris Cracknell said after working with both the men's and women's teams for the past 18 months and living in Fiji he is well aware of what it would mean for the country to succeed in Rio.

The Fijiana struggled at the latest Women's Sevens World Series event in Atlanta.

The Fijiana are viewed as a medal hope in Rio Photo: World Rugby / Mike Lee @ KLC Fotos