OUR victory at the 1984 Hong Kong Sevens will forever be remembered, mainly for one reason - the way we swept aside a powerful New Zealand side in the cup final.
The road to victory started with a scrappy 26-6 win over a weak Sri Lankan side. Coach Ian Duncan was not at all impressed.
"There was no support," he muttered after the game.
"The boys were too nervous. We let at least two tries go begging. The players must learn to settle down fast."
Japan was up next and this turned out to be the Senivalati Laulau show. The Nadi pace ace touched down four tries and we recorded the same score line as our first outing, 26-6.
Fiji had players like Keleto Lobailagi, skipper Aliposo Waqailiti, Sela Gutugutuwai and Dominiko Manaseitava in the forwards. The late Manaseitava, a winger and policeman, featured in both the backline and forwards at So Kon Po. In the backs were playmaker Acura Niuqila, Paulo Nawalu, Laulau, Etuate 'Honda' Gusuivalu and Peni Rauluni. The win over Japan meant we were up against Samoa in the cup quarter-final. The Samoans were the biggest winners in pool play, notching a 44-0 score line over Brunei.
Samoan coach Paul Wallwork was confident of his team's chances against the flamboyant Fijians.
"All we have to do is lock Laulau," he said in the preview to the game.
He was right. Lock Laulau they did but they forgot another speed merchant - Nadroga's motorbike, 'Honda'.
Gusuivalu ran in three very good tries and the Samoans were smashed 20-6. Remember back then four points were awarded for a try.
"That's your Laulau The Second," offered Samoan star Taufusi Salesa after the game.
"We should have watched him closely."
Canada's upset win over Australia meant that the Aussies went crashing out of the tournament and Fiji's chances of winning the tournament soared. We were drawn against The English Public School Wanderers. Our fast men, rover Laulau and winger Honda scored a try each as the Englishmen were beaten 12-4. John Kirwan and the Kiwis were our opponents in the final.
Many would have expected a tight game of sevens rugby but our gladiators were simply sensational. Honda, Niuqila and Laulau scored and with halfback Paulo Nawalu's conversions Fiji was up 18-0.
Hooker Manaseitava added four more points with a score in the corner and seconds from the end Laulau made it 26-0, scoring under the posts.
The Kiwis were humiliated and hotelier Duncan and his men were celebrating.
"What greater honour can a man ask for than being coach of the finest sevens team in the world," Duncan said.
"It was the mental attitude of the boys. With the right mental approach, 90 per cent of the battle is already won."
Confusion surrounded the final score line, whether it was 26-0 or 28-0. It is said that the referee ended the game before Nawalu could convert as fans had jumped onto the field of play.
Laulau scored eight tries to finish top try scorer but it was Honda who got the Best Player award after dotting down six tries.
"Many people were worried about his size but our plan to play Laulau inside and Honda on the wing paid off," Duncan said.
" People just can't believe his incredible speed."