In Summary

  • A year ago Fiji were running away with the World Rugby Sevens Series, about to win a record 16th Hong Kong title and a few months away from precious Olympic gold.
  • Now they are struggling for form having lost key players and their lauded coach Ben Ryan.
  • The new man in charge, Gareth Baber, admits he is under huge pressure to get Fiji back to their all-conquering ways, starting with the defence of their Hong Kong crown early next month.

HONG KONG

A year ago Fiji were running away with the World Rugby Sevens Series, about to win a record 16th Hong Kong title and a few months away from precious Olympic gold.

Now they are struggling for form having lost key players and their lauded coach Ben Ryan.

The new man in charge, Gareth Baber, admits he is under huge pressure to get Fiji back to their all-conquering ways, starting with the defence of their Hong Kong crown early next month.

"The Fijians love Hong Kong, there's a mystique around playing in Hong Kong for the Fijians that brings added pressure," former Hong Kong coach Baber told AFP in a teleconference call.

The Pacific islanders have won more times in Hong Kong than anyone else and in four of the past five years.

"I suppose (it's) because people think you have a right to win there. I know exactly how difficult it's going to be," said Baber of the weight of expectation on his team at their "home" event in Hong Kong.

The World Sevens Series champions for the past two seasons are yet to win a tournament this term.

Their most recent outing was chastening — a 40-7 semi-final thrashing by England in Vancouver.

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