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Fiji have eyes on Sydney Sevens prize

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    01 Feb 2019     Getty Images

The joint series leaders, with the United States, Fiji looked in their best possible form when winning the Hamilton final over the USA 36-0 and they are looking forward to a large band of supporters to help them at Spotless Stadium starting on Saturday.

The support the side manages to get from expats spread around the world in a great Fijian diaspora has been an eye opener for coach Gareth Baber.

"We don't have a home tournament so the success that Fiji has always had has been off the back of going to places there really shouldn't be Fijians. But they are, they're all around the world," the Welshman who succeeded Ben Ryan said.

While the Sevens have been held in Sydney for three years, Fiji haven't yet claimed the main prize. They knew they hadn't performed well.

"It's a great place to come and play, a sporting nation and the Australian team is putting pressure on all of us to get those spots in the Olympics.

"We know there is going to be a Fijian crowd here for us again, which is superb. It is one we want to put to bed, in terms of the last couple of years and make sure we carry on with the quality that we showed in Hamilton," he told rugby.com.au.

The Hamilton win reflected the intense work put in on fitness and discipline during the Christmas break and enabled the side to show consistent strength both in attack and defence.

"Generally, we are getting more difficult to score against, which is great," he said.

"We were particularly ruthless when we did have [the ball], as accurate as I have seen us. That comes from a lot of hard work off the field, over the number of years that we have been together."

Baber said with the skills the Fijians had, something he hadn't experienced either as a coach or player in Wales, coaching them was great.

"But the work that goes on behind that is huge amounts of time in the gym, and running, to get yourself in those positions that you can do that time and time again.

"In Fiji we are blessed with that mindset. We are trying to create the freedom to go and play and take away a lot of the clutter that can surround individuals when they come in to perform.

"For me as a coach, what I have trying to really do is recreate in their minds a little bit of how they've always played, in the villages in Fiji, where they have freedom to play," he said.