SEVENS experts say it takes a Fijian to beat a Fijian. And Eddie Waqa has a few tricks up his sleeves when Tonga meets Fiji in what is expected to be a brutal Pacific battle meeting at Skilled Park Stadium today.
Waqa, the former assistant coach of the Digicel Fiji 7s side, is here in the Gold Coast as the coaching director of the Tongan side.
He was part of the selection process of the Fiji side before leaving for Nuku'alofa to take up his coaching role. The dual international knows all too well how to form a winning combination. He did that last year when he coached Fiji to lift the Gold Coast 7s title.
Waqa has already mapped out a plan to beat Fiji and the world.
"We've just got to deny them space and possession because Fiji is very dangerous with the ball in hand. They also have some fast players and we will not allow them to penetrate through out defence," Waqa said with a smile.
"We'll make sure that we'll put a lot of pressure on them and upset them. We'll also have to score at every opportunity."
Waqa said since arriving in Tonga three weeks ago, he has had to change the mind-set of the players to the fast and open style of the abbreviated code and of course a bit of Fijian magic.
"I'm trying to introduce a new culture into the team," Waqa said.
"Over the years Tonga is well known for their physicality on the field and they are passionate about their rugby. At the same time I'm trying to blend their physicality and Fijian flair into their game. They're adapting really well."
He said the opportunity to play Fiji couldn't have come at a better time as it was his first assignment with a new team.
"We have a very young team with the age ranging from 19 to 26. We have three of four experienced players with us. We have been training for the past three weeks and there has been a lot of cohesion in the team."
One thing Fiji will be praying for is the that the Tongan's are still jet lagged from their late arrival into the Gold Coast after visa delays.
"We try to take that out of our mind. But that was to be expected beforehand. We've talked about it as a team and worked around it and hopefully we'll be ready when we face Fiji," Waqa said.