Livai Ikanikoda is upbeat about his inclusion in the Flying Fijian 7s squad after an eight-year-long absence from national rugby and intends to make the most of his chance.
He was instrumental in helping Fiji to victory at the Gold Coast 7s tournament in Australia in the 2012/13 HSBC World Sevens series but the Police Blues captain suffered a major leg injury in that same season.
According to the Fiji Sun, Livai needed two years to fully recover from his injury. But it was a long and hard road back as he spent time training and working himself back into shape. The hard work eventually paid off after he was named player of the final in the Bitter Marist Sevens tournament.
Fiji sevens coach Gareth Baber identified Ikanikoda as a suitable playmaker option and has included him in the Fijian squad to defend their title at the Cathay Pacific/HSBC Hong Kong Sevens, which kicks off on Friday.
“It feels good I have finally returned to the team. But it has been a long journey. I was willing to go on and never lose hope in order to don the white jumper once again,” Ikanikoda was quoted as saying in the Fiji Sun.
“The position is an important role because it plays a crucial link in the game and it is the playmaker that sets the pace of the game.
Ikanikoda said that he tried to join the Fijian side again in 2014 but failed because he had yet to regain peak form. But he said his passion for the game and determination helped him finally find favour with Baber.
“I have never fallen short of my dreams because rugby has always been in my mind and soul,” said Ikanikoda.
After six outings Fiji arey ranked third in the World Series standings with 101 points, closely following New Zealand, who have 106 points with USA in the lead with 113 points.
For the Hong Kong tournament, Fiji are in Pool C – referred to as the “group of death” – with New Zealand, Australia and Kenya.