Letters to the Editor – June 5
5 June, 2018, 8:05 am
Extraordinary sevens effort
Congratulation to the Fiji sevens team for their extraordinary performance at the London 7s.
With the seven-point buffer at the top of the table, Fiji will at least be required to win a bronze medal next week to be guaranteed the series title.
We must also acknowledge the “Bus” and the “Semi-trailer” for their scintillating display which has put us on the verge of capturing our third series title in four years.
Fiji has won five titles this year with Paris being the last stop. I believe the last time Fiji won five titles was in the 1999-2000 series but surprisingly, we did not win the series.
New Zealand who also won five titles and won the series by six points. Fiji can break the record by winning the sixth title this weekend and in the process also clinch the series.
Overall, we have won 36 titles since the inception of the series in 1999. We are at the top of our game but we must remain humble, disciplined and focused.
We must also thank Gareth Baber for the work done and not forgetting Ben Ryan for laying the foundation of the modern Fijian rugby. Shad Alfaz Ali, Navua
Formidable 7s mix
With one tournament to go in Paris this weekend, we have one hand on the HSBC 2017/18 World Rugby Sevens Series cup with a seven-point lead after the Radradra and Tuisova-inspired Fiji sevens team steamrolled all and sundry at Twickenham, London over the weekend.
They have formed a formidable mix. At the very same ground a week earlier, Radradra and Tuisova put on the Barbarians jumpers and terrorised the English team the whole afternoon in 15s.
When the duo agreed to join up with Jerry Tuwai and company in Europe, the die was cast that the indomitable Flying Fijians would march through to conquer London and Paris in the penultimate leg of the series, before descending on San Francisco for the Sevens World Cup in July.
Toso Viti toso. Samu Railoa, Tailevu
Added taxi permits
Fiji Taxi Association general secretary Rishi Ram may have a strong argument when he laments the 1557 taxi permits about to be added to the transport sector. While the taxi permits may be a welcome idea to the new applicants, Ram’s worry about the existing permit holders’ welfare isn’t misplaced.
As I said in one of my earlier letters (criticising Ram on something), I am not in the industry, so my opinion could be flawed, but commonsense dictates that taxi business could soon be classed as a low-income business.
Ram may want to shed some light on the unavailability of taxis at most locations after dark. Security reasons? Fine! The extra taxi permits could fill that void, for argument’s sake. But if they all scrap it out at CBDs in broad daylight, then we are in for some interesting times.
Donald Singh, Lautoka
Walking away from MHCC on Saturday, I could not help but look back at some newly-released book sitting prettily on a desk.
For some peculiar reason, it seemed to capture my attention despite me not knowing what it was about.
At the first glance, I made an instant decision to buy the book entitled Sevens Heaven by Ben Ryan.
By late Sunday I had completed reading through the book.
This book is so interesting and captures the reader’s mind, similar to the article prepared by Stanley Simpson while working for the Mai Life Magazine.
Reading through this book was like experiencing it all.
Ben Ryan says it as it happened. There are moments when I had a big and sudden kaila. Perhaps my neighbours were wondering whether all was well with me.
There are moments when one may find it difficult to contain one’s tears as readers are taken on a journey by a foreign coach who tried to understand his players by visiting their families.
Reading through enthusiastically, it’s as if one can feel the bond growing between Ben, the players, physio, manager and captain Kolinisau. Ben had to deal with all kinds of personalities within the team.
Among these there were some stubborn and arrogant ones. Let alone the increasing pressure from officials wanting some favourite players in the national team. He is also candid and open about the toll on personal relations.
As I progressed through the chapters, it was as if I was also on the journey to the Rio Games. During this week, I actually was in Funafuti for some workshop.
One has to give credit to this man whose strategies included analysing other coaches’ approaches to training. In an early chapter he made his approach known by stating that he wanted to understand Fijians but he also wanted Fijians to understand him.
Reflecting on the book, it reminds of two things. As some commentators had stated that at half time he knew how to get inside of the players’ minds and speak to them mentally.
Reading through the chapters is likened having a talanoa session with Ryan. It also brought back childhood memories in Savusavu when we were once playing close by to some relatives who were much older and having what they called just one bottle of hot stuff. After another several of one bottles and under the influence of alcohol one of the men, stated that one day a ginger bread man will lead Fiji to win a big rugby tournament.
Looking back now over 30 years later, I at first thought that this was in reference to Ben Ryan but the same can be said of captain Kolinisau.
Ryan does make a point in stating that Kolinisau’s dad thinks it was destiny, originating from above.
All in all, it’s a book worth reading. Definitely, one of my favourites for 2018.
Vinaka vakalevu Ben Ryan. Thanks for taking us through your journey from England to Fiji and to our first gold medal at the Olympics.
Floyd Robinson, Nasinu
Eastern zone rugby
With the recent assault case casting a shadow over the competition, I call on the Eastern zone rugby organisers to prioritise the student-players’ safety and wellbeing over the competition.
I believe this is not the first time players have been assaulted by spectators this year. I believe since the organisers are teachers they should bear in mind that they have the responsibility to ensure the safety of students. If they cannot rise to the occasion, they should step down. Otherwise they should wake up and do their job.
Perhaps they should consider having only one venue for all matches with proper security and health officials present.
Hope common sense will prevail. Latifa Tabua, Nausori
Kings of London
2006, 2012 and 2018 will go into history books as they mark Fiji’s wins in London in thrilling fashion. After an impressive outing on day 1, our boys showed that they had wheels to burn, power and the ability to floor opponents with monstrous hits.
The world was fascinated with the exciting brand of rugby that Fiji displayed. Fiji went into London having won four tournaments and created history by becoming the first team to win four HK tournaments and the first Fijian side to win three tournaments in a row.
The fireworks from Monday morning sparked and our boys rose to the occasion and created another bit of magic to make it four tournaments in a row on the circuit.
Baber earned accolades, fame and respect from that somebody who was ridiculed and highly criticised when he took up the job.
Fiji and Africa showed why they were the best teams on the circuit. While Fiji’s offloads were “out of the world” and termed by commentator Te Nana “ridiculous”, the Blitzbokkes’ defence was outstanding and ruthless.
Both sides loved the physical confrontation and showed this on their way to the final. Fiji thrashed Canada and Ireland while Africa taught NZ and England a rugby lesson.
The athleticism of the Fijians was unbelievable and I loved the way our heroes defended their try-line right until the dying moments. Our boys made tackle after tackle as they knew that their 19-match winning streak on the circuit and the six match unbeaten run against Africa was at stake.
Fiji dazzled Twickenham and captivated hearts by playing with high-level tempo and intensity and adding quality to the game.
Defence, which was Africa’s trademark, has somehow become a premium for Fiji and the three tries scored in the final by Tuisova, Paula and Jasa were absolutely glorious.
When the siren signalled the conclusion of an epic final, I pay tribute to the enormous amount of respect between the teams, in particular when Boks captain Snyman waited for Josua to finish praying before embracing and congratulating him.
Finally, I was touched by Baber’s interview “We’ve tried to emulate what Africa did last year in terms of the consistency — they were fantastic last year and credit to them again here as they pushed us all the way. Credit to the boys, they show humility in everything they do.”
Toso Viti! Vinaka vakalevu for the five wins and for the seven-point lead on the WRSS points table. I’m so happy! Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu
Another relaxing mix
I mixed another basin of grog after Fiji went into the quarters.
Then I sat and watched all the rest of the games.
When Fiji made it to the final I knew that South Africa would be hard to beat. They are a quality side with one of the best 7s coaches in Neil Powell.
During the semi-final, I stood up and walked around to calm my nerves.
I had five bowls one after another.
I was jittery, I was nervous. I just couldn’t wait for the final.
Then the game started and I walked around again.
My heart nearly stopped a few times.
Oh my goodness, it was anybody’s game.
To South Africa, you are a quality side.
You took the game to the wire.
To Tuisova and Radradra, thank you for your efforts, to Jerry, Gareth and the coaching staff, I salute you.
Sevens is an exciting game and you all made my day.
God bless you all.
It’s 5.30 am and I’m having another mix to celebrate and also to calm my nerves.
Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka
Vinaka captain, speak your mother tongue in the international forum. I believe it makes everyone proud of being a Fijian.
Dan Urai, Lautoka
Apart from Fiji, Ireland went down as history makers after becoming the first invitational side to reach the cup semis and then claim the bronze medal.
The Anthony Eddy coached green machine boasting names in Fitzpatrick, O’Donnell, McNulty, Roche, O’Brien, Mollen, Dardis, Horan, Kennedy, Baloucoune, Conroy and Keenan shocked Twickenham with their brand of rugby.
I salute the Irish and congratulate them for unveiling a new star in their number 11 (Conroy) who had pace to burn! Just imagine if Ireland was a core member! Watching them play added delight and pleasure to 7s!
Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu
THE big question some people are asking is: how many taxis from the 1036 new taxi bases will operate at night in Lautoka?
Narayan Reddy, Lautoka
Four the record
OUR current national 7s team has been setting and breaking records at the HSBC world 7s series this year. Four HK 7s titles in a row started off the record this year. Then followed by the record four consecutive wins in a series.
What a coincidence to achieve that feat on the morning of the 4th of June with a four point margin in the final.
Hopefully our 7s team will win the series to make it their fourth series title win. Last but not the least, Baber’s record will be carved beside four other expatriate 7s coaches who have created history in 7s rugby in the likes of the late Brian Whiteman, Ian Duncan, Wayne Pivac and Ben Ryan. It’s a four for the record. Toso Viti toso! Pita Soroaqali, Nadarivatu
I HAD a few topics that I wanted to write to the Letters to the Editor. But I am weak with excitement. And of course, all the five bowls of grog — one after another. Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka
THE Government spends so much money on river dredging around the country. The Minister for Waterways was telling the people that they need to dredge the rivers because of soil erosion. May I ask where is the silt dumped after being collected by dredging? Is it dumped on the side of the river?
John Brown, Drasa Vitogo, Lautoka
A BUNDLE of bean (bora) is being sold for $7 at the Labasa market. Isn’t it a rip-off by the farmers and the market vendors?
Rajnesh Narayan, Labasa