Let’s move on

If London was the high every sevens rugby fan yearned for, and savoured to the brim, then Paris was the brick wall we hit hard.

Fans hoped for good things at the weekend. In fact it is quite an “ask” to remain at the pinnacle of the abbreviated code.

As much as fans would have hoped for good tidings, the harsh reality is that the game has developed in leaps and bounds.

Sure we won five gold medals, four of them on the trot, but there are no minnows any more. In fact that was a massive achievement by any team on the circuit.

We have a habit of expecting the best always.

Not that it is a bad thing anyway.

However, with high expectations, it is the fall, or the stumble, that can be draining.

There can be no doubts about the impact sevens rugby has on the minds and the hearts of Fijian fans around the world.

It tugs at the heartstrings. We are emotionally attached to the code.

It actually cuts through every demarcation line. You could slap the word imaginary to that demarcation bit.

Every time our national sevens side runs on to the field, it does so with the hopes and aspirations of thousands of Fijians. Women, old and young, men across every age range, children and people from all ethnic and religious backgrounds are drawn into the magic surrounding sevens rugby.

We unite to cheer on our side.
Every Fijian becomes an expert in the game, with an opinion. Every player and the coach are known including their positions on the field.

There is a special place for sevens rugby. You could say the sport is what soccer is to Brazilians.

We play the game with a passion most outsiders find quite difficult to understand.

With all the latest gadgets and improvements in training methods at the disposal of the big nations, little Fiji remains as competitive as ever.

Every year we expect other nations to develop. We expect them to study our game, improve their attacks and defences, and be strong competitors.

Yet defeat is difficult to accept.

The loss to England in the quarter-finals of the Paris 7s hurt.

We just needed to reach the semi-finals, or better still the final.

Many fans stayed up late to cheer on every team that played South Africa enroute to the final.

We picked on mistakes by the referee and rued our missed opportunities.

It was hard to accept that despite winning five tournaments, South Africa, who only won two, anchored their season as series champions.

Perhaps we should learn from them about consistency to get beyond the Cup quarter-finals in every tournament. The sevens series is done and dusted now. Attention shifts to San Francisco for the Rugby World Cup Sevens next month.

Let’s take comfort in the fact that we have an improved and more cohesive defensive shape, an attack that can be mesmerising in the best of times, we have become better in the breakdowns, and we have great depth in talent. Now that’s positive leading up to the Rugby World Cup Sevens.

We should cheer on our team to believe in themselves and confidently carry our hopes and aspirations once more.
Go Fiji, go.