Baber’s worry

Fiji 7s head coach Gareth Baber speaks to his players during a training session. Picture: FT FILE/JOVESA NAISUA

INJURIES to top players from the last leg of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series is a major concern as Fiji Airways Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber builds the team for the Hong Kong and Singapore 7s next month.

Playmaker Waisea Nacuqu suffered a season ending injury in Las Vegas after fracturing his collar bone.

Captain Kalione Nasoko sustained a recurring knee cartilage injury during the pool stages during the Canada 7s which ruled him out of the eliminations while Filimoni Botitu received a couple of knocks to his back in Las Vegas but managed to pull through in Vancouver.

Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber said it was too early to ascertain the extent of Nasoko’s injury.

“He (Kalione) only did that on the Saturday at Vancouver,” Baber said.

“He has a niggling cartilage issue in his knee and is the one he did prior to Dubai and South Africa which we nursed him through.

“So, he will have a scan to see exactly what the extent of the damage is and what will be done moving forward.

“But it is cartilage for certain again and it depends on how many you get inside your knee and what the recovery period will be. As it would look like at this stage we are making a guess of about three weeks but we will know later this week. He will be hard pushed to get to Hong Kong and he will be struggling but we will work to get him there.

“Botitu took couple of knocks on his back and was having a lot of neck pain but we managed him through the second tournament. It was incredible to think he was the stand in playmaker. Baber said losing a player with the calibre of Nacuqu was unfortunate. “We have now lost Wise (Waisea) for the rest of the season,” he said.

“Those things are tough to take because he is such an influential player. Botitu is an influential player as well. Box (Botitu) will recover and Wise will not. It will be touch and go with Kali (Kalione). But we have to rotate because there are a lot of bumps and a lot of steam is being taken off the legs and bodies and that is tough. They know that it is part of the game and obviously we will build towards Hong Kong.

“The boys will get their medical done on Friday. They will be back with us next Tuesday. We will be in Suva through next week, creating that focus very much because we feel hurt. Using that emotion really to focus the minds on the job we have to do in Hong Kong and Singapore.”

The team returned home yesterday.

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