New Zealand halfback Tomasi Cama is recognised as one of the legends of the Sevens game. Matiu Workman spoke with the 2012 IRB Sevens Player of the Year about family loyalties, his career highlights and his ultimate goal ahead of the Wellington Sevens.
You started your international Sevens career in 2005 and then dropped in 2006. What drove you to return to the national side and eventually become the player that you are today?
I guess I went back and had to work hard on my fitness. Obviously I had to learn as much as I could by watching and playing the game. I had the help of the guys that were already in the squad in their fitness and Titch [coach, Gordon Tietjens] gave me a lot of feedback on things I needed to work on and what I needed to do to get back into the team. Then I worked hard and tried to make my way back.
A number of players have gone on to play Sevens for a number of years, such as Waisale Serevi, Santiago Gomez Cora, Eric Rush.
What is the secret to a long Sevens career?
It's just a matter of looking after your body. Obviously you have to work hard to try and maintain the fitness and compete at the highest level. It's a matter of looking after your body and doing all the little things well off the field; the nutrition, the recovery, and all the supplements you need to take to ensure you look after your body well so that you still manage to perform well in training and game time.
Aside from his gruelling training camps, what is it about Gordon Tietjens that makes him such a master of the game?
Sometimes he just wants to lift us mentally with all the hard training he gives us. He just wants to get the best out of the boys. He's really disciplined himself with nutrition and he's ready to help us with all the little things we do on the field.
We all know the Wellington Sevens is an event you guys are desperate to win. How do you calm any nerves that come with the pressure of winning your own tournament?
We try to prepare like any other tournament. There's obviously a few things we have to do in promo off the field, but at the end of the day we have to keep focus on our performances on the field. We just have to not worry about the outcome I guess but do all the little things step by step. That's how we prepare as individuals and as a team. We have to make sure we understand our role and everyone is sure on what we have to do to win our pool games on Friday and then obviously looking forward to the second day as well.
You've featured in some incredibly special seasons with the New Zealand Sevens team. Which of the campaigns stands out for you?
Probably the Commonwealth Games in 2010 but obviously the World Cup last year too. It was very special for us because we hadn't won it for a few years and how we approached it was a bit different from the World Series. We brought in Jonah [Lomu] and Eric [Rush] to have a chat with the boys about how they prepared themselves back in the days and their legacy for the team. We didn't want to let those players down as well.
To another type of history. Your statistical achievements in the game are incredible. Second on the all-time points scorers list...
I don't really look at it much. Maybe when I'm finished playing but it's special to be second on the all-time points scorers list, but at the moment I'm just trying to play my part in this team. It's not about one player, it's about this team and what we can contribute.
Your father, also Tomasi Cama, was an incredible Sevens player himself and represented Fiji for 12 years. How did he react when he saw you were playing Sevens but for New Zealand?
He played for Fiji so he probably goes for Fiji but if we play somebody else then he'll probably cheer for me. We had an interview maybe a couple of years ago and said that when he plays for Fiji, he goes for Fiji. That's on the field - but off the field he's still my dad, that's the way it is for us. I guess that's rugby. If you represent one country you have to play as them on the field but off the field he still supported me big time.
One of the things people notice about Sevens is that New Zealand is always at the forefront of the sport. How hard is it to stay ahead of the chasing pack?
It is getting tougher and tougher because there's a lot of Sevens tournaments now. Other teams are playing in it and they're getting the experience and they're getting the knowledge of the game now with all of the stuff off the field. It's the analysis that comes with it. They're getting fitter, faster, stronger and better. There are times we have to be smarter than them and it's about getting the little things done well that make the difference.
Finally Tomasi obviously the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow are looming quickly. The question on everyone's minds is - will you be sticking around for the 2016 Rio Olympics?
That's my ultimate goal, to make the Olympics but I'll take it year by year. Obviously with the World Series that's my first goal with this team and then there's the Commonwealth Games. There's a lot of pressure because we haven't lost a game in four Commonwealth Games. I guess the ultimate goal is [Rio 2016] and it would be good to make that one as well but time will tell and we'll see how the body is holding up.