“Yeah we have expectations. To win. We didn’t come to lose,” said On Point Athlete Management managing director Deon Smith.
And looking at their squad, which includes players from the prestigious Randwick Club in Sydney, they may have a shot.
The team’s not-so-secret weapon is Fijian Pita Gus, the standout flanker for the Mitre 10 Cup team (and Ranfurly Shield holders) Taranaki, who Smith discovered at a resort.
“Last year, Pita was working in a resort that I was staying at in Fiji. I met him in the foyer as I was checking out. He was the pastry chef, and he was walking through,” Smith explained.
“So my wife went and chased him down, and we found out that he played rugby. We started chatting over email and about a month later we had him down in New Zealand, signed up to an ITM team.
“He’s just been voted as the Sevens Player of the Year, and most promising player of the year.”
The meteoric rise was something that they both were hoping for, but did not expect to happen so soon.
“We sat down and had a plan, let’s try and make the ITM team. That happened pretty much straight away.
“That season wrapped up last weekend, and his progress through that three-month season was just through the charts. Which in turn attracted all the Super Rugby franchises, who started chasing him. “And for a guy, a rookie, to come off a season and have four clubs chasing him, that’s very impressive.”
The team, which has a couple of players who were involved with the Sydney Roosters, does have hopes of winning, but Smith thinks the experience for the players is just as important as the on-the-field results.
“It’s an experience for the young fellas. To get out and see what sevens offshore is like.
“And sometimes tournaments like this can be very disorganised, but (Raro Events director) Glenda Tuaine, she’s been so good. I went up to the stadium and had a look (Monday), and it looks awesome. “It looks like a big job that they’ve pulled off. I’m expecting a big show, and we’re looking forward to it.”