Editorial comment: What a beauty!
1 May, 2018, 6:00 am
You’ve got to hand it to the national side. They certainly know how to attract attention. There was a lot of that at the weekend. What a beauty it was to dump New Zealand and South Africa enroute to the final of the Singapore leg of the World Rugby 7s series. Victory was sweet. We had come off the Commonwealth Games on a low after that heart breaking loss in the final to New Zealand.
It did not help that the All Blacks played down the clock, and sucked the life out of our game at the Gold Coast. They effectively nullified our running game and cut off our strength in the breakdown to win the gold medal. They frustrated us out of the final. In Singapore we rode on the back of renewed vigour, enthusiasm in defence and a willingness to keep the ball alive on attack.
We were again strong in the breakdowns, however, what will stand out though was our strength of character. We were resilient. We were mentally focused and when it came to crunch time, skipper Jerry Tuwai and the team believed in themselves, and played to the whistle. They backed themselves even when time was over. Against an Australian side that was pretty tough in the final, and with time over on the clock, Fiji remained composed to spin the ball out wide, setting up Alasio Naduva to power through to the winning touchdown.
There are many lessons for us here. There is the bit about consistency, commitment, enthusiasm and obviously self-belief and confidence. In life, these can be very important ingredients. National coach Gareth Baber appears to have found a winning combination. We have big powerful forwards who are not afraid to mix it up-front with the best in the business and a backline that includes stars such as Tuwai, Eroni Sau, Naduva and Amenoni Nasilasila to name a few.
Our rucks were strong, our forwards were dominant in general play and we finally had pace to burn. The challenge now is how we prepare for the next two legs of the series in Paris and London. Then there is the big one in the US where we head to for the Sevens World Cup later in the year. Young teams such as Australia and Spain showed there are no minnows in the modern game. That on its own is a frightening reality of the abbreviated version of the sport. For now though, we should be lapping up the excitement and joy of victory in Singapore. What a beauty!