Commonwealth Games: The heat is on for Olympic rugby sevens champions Fiji 

Back-to-back Olympic gold medallists Fiji are hungry for their first rugby 7s Commonwealth Games title after finishing second three-times.

By Ash Tulloch
Picture by 2021 Getty Images

The Fijian men's rugby sevens team are no strangers to success, but winning Commonwealth Games gold is one title that has eluded them.

Having taken home silver on three occasions, Birmingham 2022 will be their seventh attempt at trying to stand atop the Commonwealth Games podium.

The Rio 2016 and Tokyo 2020 Olympic champions have one goal in mind says head coach Ben Gollings.

"The team is so talented, we've got such a good group of players, there's actually less pressure on us to win. But we're here to claim Commonwealth Games gold," Gollings said to the BBC.

The team were preparing for their mission at a training camp in Dorset.

"We have everything we need and we're close to the ocean so it feels a bit like home," Gollings said, "People didn't realise they were Olympic gold medallists."

The 13-man squad includes six Olympic gold medallists and five players from the the 2018 Commonwealth Games team on the Gold Coast of Australia.

After announcing the team selected, Gollings was confident in his sides talent.

"I think overall we have got a really good balance and we have selected the squad based on experienced and performance," he told RNZ.

"There are a lot of players who are new to the series this year and they have really stepped up such as players like Elia Canakaivata, Jerry Matana, and Tevita Daugunu who have been really marshalling the forwards well.

"Definitely for us, it's one of the medals that has escaped Fiji over the years and our target is to go and claim that." - Ben Gollings.

With so much experience, there are high hopes for the team from both inside and outside their camp.

"We're training hard and are confident ahead of the Commonwealth Games - the boys will put in a great effort for gold this year." says Waisea Nacuqu.

Fiji mean business at Birmingham 2022

Both the men's and women's Fijian sevens teams have withdrawn from participating in Friday's (29th July) Opening Ceremony.

Fiji chef de mission Sale Sorovaki said in a statement from Birmingham, “The rugby sevens teams have declined participation in the Opening Ceremony to focus on their opening matches being held the following day.”

The tournament fixture has teams playing two pool matches on day one. Day two is the third pool match and quarter-finals. Competition will wrap with semi-finals and the final on day three.

The men's side will face Zambia and Canada first, before taking on Wales.

Their biggest challenge for gold is expected to come from New Zealand who is the most successful team in Commonwealth Games history. The Kiwi men have reached all six finals and won five. They took home silver in 2014 in Glasgow. The New Zealanders lost to Fiji in the Olympic final at Tokyo 2020.

Men’s Rugby Birmingham 2022 Pool draw

Pool A:

New Zealand
England
Samoa
Sri Lanka

Pool B:

South Africa
Scotland
Tonga
Malaysia

Pool C:

Fiji
Canada
Wales
Zambia

Pool D:

Australia
Kenya
Uganda
Jamaica

Schedule: Men's Rugby Sevens Birmingham 2022

Local time, Birmingham, UK (GMT+1)

Friday 29 July 2022 - Morning session - 09:00 - 13:30
Australia vs Jamaica
Kenya vs Uganda
New Zealand vs Sri Lanka
England vs Samoa
South Africa vs Malaysia
Scotland vs Tonga
Canada vs Wales
Fiji vs Zambia

Friday 29 July 2022 - Evening session - 17:30 - 22:00
Kenya vs Jamaica
Australia vs Uganda
England vs Sri Lanka
New Zealand vs Samoa
Scotland vs Malaysia
South Africa vs Tonga
Wales vs Zambia
Fiji vs Canada

Saturday 30 July 2022 - Morning session - 09:00 - 13:30
Uganda vs Jamaica
Australia vs Kenya
Samoa vs Sri Lanka
New Zealand vs England
Tonga vs Malaysia
South Africa vs Scotland
Canada vs Zambia
Fiji vs Wales

Saturday 30 July 2022 - Evening session - 17:30 - 22:00
Quarter-finals

Sunday 31 July 2022 - Morning session - 10:30 - 14:00
Semi-finals

Sunday 31 July 2022 - Evening session - 18:30 - 22:00
Play-off for 13th, 19th and 5th
Bronze medal match
Final

How to watch Fiji Rugby Sevens team at Commonwealth Games 2022

UK: BBC TV, Radio, iPlayer

Canada: CBC Sports, CBC Sports app

Australia: Channel 7, 7Plus

New Zealand: Sky, TVNZ

India: Sony LIV

Further streaming details to be released on the Commonwealth Games website.

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