CHAMPION Coke Zero Deans coach Josaia Rokomarawa definitely deserves to coach the under-18 national team after a fine display of rugby by his Ratu Navula College side last weekend.
The school became the first Western team to take the under-18 premier Deans trophy after defeating defending champions Queen Victoria School and completing a four-year unbeaten run over 29 consecutive matches.
The side won the under-15 grade in 2010, U16 in 2011, U17 in 2012 and U18 in 2013.
QVS almost came back to snatch a late victory but the better team won.
The Matavatucou side only have themselves to blame after stampeding all over the park, leaving wide open spaces on one side of the field and kicking away possession instead of running it back and hard.
Only a solo effort from skipper and number eight Mesulame Dolokoto saw him running from inside his half to swerve, duck, fend and crash his way through for one of the greatest Deans tries in recent years.
Ratu Navula had the game all wrapped up and were already celebrating in the stands when the QVS try was scored.
Building a winning combination is quite a tough task and maintaining the same players every year is also impossible as players move from school to school and in Ratu Navula's case some players have been taken away by New Zealand clubs.
The Fiji under-18 team should be made up of the core of the Ratu Navula team with key players from Ratu Kadavulevu School and Assemblies of God and other top schools such as QVS number eight Dolokoto and fullback Sevuloni Reece.
Ratu Kadavulevu School U17 looks the team to beat now in next year's U18 Deans trophy after they whipped Lelean Memorial School 25-0 in the final.
Lelean had beaten RKS in the Eastern Zone final under wet conditions and no Davuilevu fan cheered the young boys on as they seemed to lack confidence and hope.
The RKS team was also beaten in the quarter-final by Nadroga/Navosa but they were brought back after a complaint against Nadroga/Navosa got them through.
However, only 11 players of the RKS team remained after the last whistle as one was red carded for a spear tackle and two were yellow-carded.
RKS has failed to win the new version of the competition in the U18 grade and their reign had been in the U19 grade.
But last Saturday, the U19 fell in the final minute 22-20 to Marist Brothers High School after dominating most of the game 20-10.
The Lodoni boys fooled around tapping the ball and running from near halfway instead of kicking for a lineout and from five metres inside their half they attempted a penalty kick which just fell short in front of the posts.
So it was a case of overconfidence and when Marist scored a try to trail 15-20 they still went about their careless play.
Until the final hooter sounded Marist was given a penalty inside their own half. They picked and drove from there and retained possession after another two penalties and a yellow card to RKS before another penalty was given right in front of the posts.
The forwards drove hard from there and they scored under the posts to convert and win 22-20.
However, the man of the match prize was given to RKS number eight Uluiviti, who displayed top quality rugby.
There have been calls from fans to return the Deans trophy premier prize to the U19 grade and that watching the U19 grade was more exciting because the players are bigger and better coached and it was the highest grade in the schools.
"This is like watching a senior team play curtain raiser to a colts match," a fan said.
Overall, the Deans rugby competition is improving but the FRU development program has yet to really soak up the schools system and perhaps rugby should be added in the school curriculum.
Unqualified coaches are still coaching teams and most use their general knowledge of rugby from playing days and schoolmaster role to influence players and if they get the basic knowledge of coaching right, our rugby base will have been well looked after for the future.
One school coach who stepped down before his school sports committee sacked him said, "I only used what I knew about rugby."
Last Saturday, without surveying the sitting arrangements I sat with a couple of RKSOB in the middle of Ratu Navula fans at the grandstand.
Nadi rugby is known for their women fans and you need ear plugs around them as they shrieked and yelled out instructions to players in the Ratu Navula U16 team playing against Marist. Among them was a Marist fan with female hairdo, cheering soprano, alto and tenor but a physique that could equal a provincial senior team forward.
In the Under 18 final he was back as Ratu Navula fan.
Since he was sitting inside, he reserved his other tone of respect to those at the edge of the row with a baritone 'tulou, tulou, tulou' (excuse) to get past.
When Ratu Navula scored you had to get off your seats as everyone was on their feet and if you remained seated the flags from behind you will cover your view of the game.
But the ladies continually apologised to us as they danced and cheered themselves hoarse.
There are always lively conversations in such crowds and it keeps everyone laughing or smiling if you are neutral.
But if your team is playing it's better to stick to your fan side of the grandstand.