Rugby: Dragons touted as favourites to dethrone Daveta

Asia Pacific Dragons captain Pio Tuwai (in red), who conducted a rugby clinic at the Padang yesterday, leads a strong side who are touted as favourites to dethrone Ablitt Cup defending champions Daveta.

Defence will be the focus for newcomers Asia Pacific Dragons as they aim to end defending champions Daveta's two-year stranglehold on the Ablitt Cup.

Captain Pio Tuwai, who has played for the Fiji sevens team, said: "If we want to win the tournament, we have to focus on our defence because the teams taking part are very strong.

"I told the players the main thing for us is defence and good communication on the pitch."

He was speaking at the annual captains meet on Wednesday, ahead of the Singapore Cricket Club International Rugby Sevens tournament (SCC 7s) from Friday to Sunday at the Padang.

He was joined by his counterparts from British side Penguins, the France National Development outfit and the SCC.

Twenty teams from 10 countries will be taking part.

The Dragons, who are participating for the first time, are billed as the favourites to topple Fijian side Daveta.

The 2012 Hong Kong Tens winners boast 2006 France Player of the Year Rupeni Caucaunibuca and Samoa's prolific try-scorer Mikaele Pesamino.

Caucaunibuca was the top try- scorer in France's professional Top 14 rugby union league in 2005 and 2006.

Pesamino was the second top-scorer at the 2009-10 International Rugby Board sevens world series.

Tuwai is confident his team's potent attack will give them the upper hand at the SCC 7s.

"I am confident of beating Daveta, if our defence is good. We can score any try, we can break any defence," said the 30-year-old. One advantage the Dragons have over their European counterparts is the local weather. Hot and humid suits them just fine.

Pesamino, who plays on the wing, said: "Singapore's weather is not much different from the Pacific Islands'.

"It's the same weather, the only difference is the environment. There are a lot of buildings around the pitch in Singapore."

While some members of his team are meeting for the first time in Singapore, Tuwai is confident they can gel in time.

Tuwai, who can play as a flanker or prop, said: "Our teamwork is good. Most of the players come from Fiji, so we know each other. "We have discussed with each other what we need to do to win."

siangyee@sph.com.sg

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