SITIVENI Waqa has played sevens for Fiji and has been turning heads at Newcastle representative training. Now Hamilton coach Scott Coleman is banking on the powerhouse back to steer the Hawks to the Country title at the Mick "Whale" Curry Memorial Sevens at St John Oval on Saturday.
Waqa has joined Hamilton from Manly and spent three years in the Fijian squad for the IRB World Sevens series.
"He is in his early 30s now but he is still a freak," Coleman said. "He is very hard to stop and is a strong defender. The thing that sets him apart are his skills. You can tell he has been in a high-end program."
Waqa spearheads a side that includes another former Fijian international in Seva Rokobaro, Belgium sevens representative Tom Coupe, Japanese halfback Japanese halfback Daiyu Ishimori and speed machines Zac Crowley and Hamish McKie.
Hamilton won their fifth straight minor-major premiership double last year but finished second fiddle to Nelson Bay at this tournament.
"It's certainly a title we want and we have put a strong squad together," Coleman said. "Nelson Bay will be strong again as will Wanderers and North Lakes, who also have a couple of Fijians."
Coleman was disappointed with the lack of support from local clubs in the Country Division.
The premier men and women's division will have equal prizemoney of $5000.
UTS Gordon, which is coached by Coleman's older brother Darren, are the defending champions in the men. Southern Districts will start favourite in the women.
"We have attracted seven teams from Sydney in the premier men, which is the most we have had," Coleman said. "As well Gordon, West Harbour won the Sydney Shute Shield Seven last season and Norths were runners-up."
The first game kicks off at 8.30am, with the finals starting at 4pm.