THE long conference room was full with more than 100 members of the media from all over Great Britain and all over the world, who had come to cover the 1999 Rugby World Cup.
It was in the press conference after Fiji lost the quarter-final playoff against England at Twickenham and seated on the panel was manager Pita Nacuva, skipper Greg Smith answering questions fired from the rugby writers left right and centre.
After a while there was hushed silence as one of England's veteran rugby writers raised his hand and was given the opportunity to ask a question.
It was as if the Queen had entered the room. But it was evident that there was so much respect for the 70-year-old, who had been covering rugby long before most of the men in the room were even born.
His question was a revelation and one that I would like to recall as an inspiration for our rugby team and a reminder of the benchmark set by that team coached by now hotelier Brad Johnstone.
In fact, coach Male and his assistants Ifereimi Mocelutu and Viliame Satala were members of that great team, which I still believe had the makings of world champions written all over them.
The 70-year-old rugby writer asked something along the lines of: "In my many years of following the England rugby team I had never seen their scrum pushed around the way Fiji did today, what is your secret," the 70-year-old rugby writer asked.
Skipper Smith simply answered: "Well, we just tucked our heads in and pushed."
The roar of laughter and approval was deafening and while we may have lost the match we did hold our own in the scrums and impressed everyone who watched that day.
The old man's query was never answered to his satisfaction but the fact remains that the Fijian scrum was one of the best in the 1999 RWC.
The questionable penalty tries awarded to France at Toulouse in the deciding pool game against France was undeniable proof.
Scrummaging will and always will be the deciding factor that separates a good team from a great team, boys from men and defeat from success, not only in this modern era of professional rugby but ever since Webb Ellis picked that soccer ball and ran.
That is why new scrum coach and former Wallaby Cameron Blades' role is of utmost importance as Fiji prepares to make a tour of the northern hemisphere next month.
And if national rugby coach Inoke Male plays his cards right, expect and begin to get excited now (namaka, waraka) and expect Fiji to flatten and trample all over that bed of roses at Twickenham on November 10.
It is the opening game and we have the element of surprise and England will not have any chance of watching our rugby side before the Test and this chance may never come again.
Whenever we have a good pack of forwards plus powerful front rows and the backline littered with sevens rugby players, Fiji can beat any team in the world.
However, every rugby team trains to win and before we farewell this team we could definitely be sure that they are going to produce the goods and not just going on a fishing expedition or settle for the runner-up position.
I had a four-year nephew who once came with his dad to watch me play club rugby back in Lautoka in the eighties.
Our RKSOB team was playing Batiri at Churchill Park and Batiri winger Samu Yalayala scooped a ball from the halfway mark and ran all the way to score a try in the corner while I was the lone chaser.
My nephew was so excited on the sideline calling out, "Yeah uncle, uncle has come second, uncle has come second."
He thought we were running the 100 metres race. In rugby runners up don't get the silver medal but the spoon, plate, bowl, fork and knife.
Judging from local Digicel Cup and Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy competition there has been an improvement in the front row competition and hookers throwing in the lineouts.
Experienced props Setefano Somoca, Deacon Manu will be joined by the young and promising Benji Makutu and Manasa Saulo and on their broad shoulders rest our hopes.
Makutu has been impressive at tighthead prop for Nadroga and it is his first outing in the Fiji jersey after he injured himself and was dropped from last year's RWC squad.
The locks have played together for a number of matches with Leone Nakarawa, Api Naikatini,Sekonai Kalou, with Apisalome Ratuniyarawa the new inclusion.
In some occasions Nadroga hooker Jerry Naureure has scored 100 per cent in lineout throws and so have Suva hooker Viliame Veikoso and Tuapati Talemaitoga.
They have improved in this area where waiting for the ball to be thrown is like waiting for a lottery draw.
Win the lineouts and scrums and be there early in the breakdowns will be a tough task but we have the bunch of forwards, especially loose forwards, up to the task.
The flanker position will be a battle between Iliesa Ratuva, Samu Bola, Nemani Nagusa and Jo Domolailai.
Nadroga's Ratuva has been described by national coaching director Frank Boivert as the total package because of his speed, all-round skills and workrate.
In the backline, the majority have donned the national sevens team jumpers in the HSBC sevens series.
There's a great depth in the talents in the backs and we can be assured of impact player who can lift the game in the final quarter.
The great kicking boots of Jonetani Ralulu will give him the edge however other kickers in the side include Metuisela Talebula and England-based Josh Matavesi, the son of Isireli Matavesi of Vanuabalavu, Lau.
Having the bulk of our squad already based in Europe means our side will not be bothered too much about the cold as it is winter there.
Fiji's other games are against top English club Gloucester on November 13, Ireland A on November 17 and the second Test against Georgia on November 24.
Fiji has never beaten England and we will be at a disadvantage of not having played as a team and that is why the draw is such.
But we are known to rise to the occasion when the need arises and our sevens gladiators proved this at the recent Gold Coast Sevens.
Come on boys, go get them.
Go Fiji Go.
* Kajirugby Skills Academy news
The dates and other details for the first Saturday coaching program are:
* Age group: 9 - 10 years
* Date: 3rd November to 1st December. 2012
* Venue: Draiba Primary School.
* Registration Fees: $20. Registration Forms are available at Draiba Primary School.
* For more information call Kini on 3315030 or Rupeni on 9096432.
* Closing date is Thursday, November 1, 2012.