Flashback ’98 Games
12 April, 2018, 12:00 am
The 1998 Commonwealth Games took place in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia from 11-21 September.
The 1998 games were the first held in an Asian country and this was also the first time the games took place in a nation with a head of state other than the head of the Commonwealth.
Hence, Malaysia became the eighth nation to host the Commonwealth Games after Canada, England, Australia, New Zealand, Wales, Jamaica and Scotland.
Around 3638 athletes from 69 member nations participated in the Games.
The final medal tally was led by Australia, followed by Canada, England and Malaysia.
Rugby 7s at the 1998 Games was the first Commonwealth Games where rugby 7s was played.
Fiji took a star-studded side in a bid to repeat the heroic ’97 RWC 7S and ’98 HK 7s win. The team was captained by Serevi and had Vunibaka, Sirilo Lala, Bosekora, Tuikabe, Doviverata, Bruce Rauqe, Rokini, Seta Tawake and Akuila Tuinasau.
In the first phase of games played on September 12 at Petaling Jaya Stadium, Fiji thrashed Wales and Swaziland 45-7 and 71-0 respectively.
The following day in the second phase of pool matches, Fiji trounced Kenya 71-0 and Malaysia 63-5. Despite these convincing wins our boys finished second behind Australia and faced Canada in the quarter-final which they won in style 26-19. Fiji was too good for Australia in the semis eventually winning 28-14.
However, our hopes of a gold medal were quashed by a superior All Blacks outfit, which defeated Fiji 21-12 in the final.
The All Blacks had too much firepower in their gas tank and legendary 7s player Eric Rush, the late Jonah Lomu, Raoma, Reihana, Ralph, Cullen, Seymour, Vidiri, Rico Gear and Roger Randle, who coached the NZ team to this year’s HK 7s, stood tall on the podium creating history and becoming the first winners of the Commonwealth Games 7s competition.
In the bronze medal playoff the experienced Australian team led by speedstar Brendan Williams, Pither, Campese, Fenukitau, Jim, Stcherbina, Dowling, Richard Graham, Nalatu and Tyron defeated Samoa 33-12.