23 Jan 2017

Sport: Baber excited to get Fiji 7s tenure underway

12:30 pm on 23 January 2017

Fiji sevens coach Gareth Baber says he can't wait to finally get his tenure underway this weekend.

The Welshman took charge of the World Series and Olympic champions at the start of the month and has spent the past three weeks training an extended squad ahead of the tournaments in Wellington and Sydney.

"The most comfortable place I am is around players and on the training field," he said.

"It's where I've done all my growing up really - from being a kid playing to being a coach. You learn some harsh lessons there and at some point in your career they sort of all culminate to give you a position like I've sort of followed at the moment.

"My job is really to try and impart some of that with the players and create the environment around them in which they can express themselves, as they've done so many times previously, so I'm looking forward to it...it certainly is a good challenge for me."

The new Fiji sevens coach Gareth Baber

The new Fiji sevens coach Gareth Baber Photo: Andy Jones / Hong Kong Rugby Union / AFP

Baber has selected five players that travelled to South America recently for a development tournament while keeping the core of the team that competed in Dubai and Cape Town in December.

"Picking some players who have got some good conditioning levels and I suppose they're exposed to tournaments recently and the boys in South America did that," he said.

"Obviously I've had the footage out and watched that and obviously the feedback from coaches as well, so that in itself is probably a big impetus for the boys who have already done Dubai and South Africa and then pushed through the new year," said Baber.

"There's a lot of experience in there so there's a nice blend."

Gareth Baber says he won't be making any dramatic sudden changes to how the team plays and wants them to express themselves on the field.

Fiji face series leaders South Africa, Australia and Japan in pool play on Saturday.

Fiji will resume their rivalry with series leaders South Africa at the Wellington Sevens.

Fiji will resume their rivalry with series leaders South Africa at the Wellington Sevens. Photo: PHOTOSPORT