Fiji’s victory in Vancouver
13 March, 2018, 12:00 am
A young and flamboyant Flying Fijians outfit proved critics wrong by wrapping up the Canada 7s and becoming the first team to win two tournaments in the WRSS.
Kenya was the surprise package in Vancouver and bounced back from the pool loss to Fiji to eliminate England and USA out of contention for the cup final.
Like the Kenyans, Fiji had to fight hard to cement a place in the final.
Fiji thrashed the Pumas who finished runner-up in Las Vegas and our boys played with so much confidence and flair.
Fiji put on some hard tackles and demolished Argentina in all facets of play.
The match against South Africa was always going to be exciting and a big game for Fiji.
The Blitzbokke had buried the disappointment from their last pool match where they were thrashed by NZ to fight a 19-nil deficit against Australia and win at the death.
Led by experienced Snyman, South Africa was dominant and came out firing.
They put pressure on Fiji and took an early lead. However, I was full of praise for our boys who scored two beautiful tries and then defended desperately in the final moments of play.
Nasilasila’s try-saving tackle brought out emotions and a loud burst of applause and cheer.
Fiji was on course to create history and the Kenyans were on our path. Fiji had appeared in 66 finals and had won 32 while Kenya had appeared in 4 finals and had won once in Singapore in 2016 after belting Fiji 30-7.
Ironically, three members of that Fijian team – Jerry, Nasilasila and Ravouvou were against six members of the winning Kenyan team – Injera, Oyoo, Oliech, Ambaka, Ayodi and Amonde.
The “never say die” Kenyan attitude was up against the flamboyant Fijians.
Once Fiji levelled scores at 12-12, our boys never looked back and pinned Kenya with those hammer hits.
What we saw was Fijian rugby at its best rejuvenated by a passionate crowd and a bunch of possessed players playing with confidence.
Our forwards in Mesu, Nasoko, Paula and Josua terrorised Kenya and the sublime skills of Sevu, Jerry, Sau, Nasilasila and Naduva buried the Kenyan hatchet.
Despite playing away from home and braving the chilly conditions, Fiji played their hearts out and did enough to win our first Vancouver title.
Sevu deserved the player of the final award and his two tries on either side of the half proved critical.
Now that the dust has settled, Fiji is 8 points behind South Africa and 9 ahead of NZ. Vinaka vakalevu timi ni Viti! Wananavu na nomudou qito. Congratulations to our heroes and coach Baber and thanks for the marvellous, fantastic and courageous display!
You have done Fiji proud with a lion’s effort!