NEW Zealand continues from where they left off in the Rugby World Cup sevens in Moscow by beating a young Australian side to win the Gold Coast leg to break Fiji's dominance in the tournament.
Fiji had won the first tournament of the of the HSBC Sevens World Series twice in a row beating New Zealand both times in the final. But a loss to England in the quarter-final ended Digicel-sponsored Fiji team's campaign for a three-year straight scoop.
Ironically Fiji coach Ben Ryan's former side England which had the local boys in sixes and sevens also under a new coaching order. Simon Amor, who was coach of the England women's team now coaches the men and is a former England teammate of the Fiji coach.
But our boys went on to win the Plate final after beating Samoa and then thrashing Kenya in the final. It was a case of using a different sevens tactic that made the difference. Against England the Fijian players tried to emulate the English style of sevens by trying to run through the middle and use short passing to create openings.
But against a physically superior side they continually lost possession in the tackle and a yellow card to Ilai Tinai only added salt to the wound.
However, against Samoa and Kenya they went back to the wide passing and no commitment style and they ran havoc over the opposition.
The wide passing from one side of the field to the other makes the ball do the work by tiring the opposing defenders running around.
Modern day sevens rugby teams have a formidable defence moving from side-to-side but maintaining a straight line of defence.
However, patience is the virtue of the hunter and sooner or later the line breaks as fatigue in chasing defenders sets in.
Eventually the gaps appear and once behind enemy lines anything can happen.
The Fiji side has a good attacking unit and the pace to outrun the opposition. They also have experienced players in Tinai, Ulaiasi Lawavou and Osea Kolinisau. Against England they also lost crucial possession in the kick-offs and that is one area coach Ryan will have to work hard on in Dubai.
Tackle commitments were not all there as they resorted to jersey grabbing. England tries came because of half-hearted tackles by the Fijian boys. However, England has a chink in it's armour which our boys failed to exploit. Mathew Turner who scored a hat-trick of tries but because of his short arms he has proven over the years time and again that he is a poor tackler.
That is not expected to change and Fiji should take advantage of this weak point when they do meet again.
But against the bigger guys a fend will only momentarily keep them away before they wrap you up with their powerful arms.
It is a rebuilding series for Fiji and the new coach and we should not expect the results overnight. Ryan is the third Englishman to coach a Fiji sevens team.
The first was Brian Wightman who was coach manager of the side that took part in the inaugural Hong Kong Sevens in 1976.
Wightman also represented England as a lock. The side lost to Australia in the semi-finals under controversial circumstances after Fiji forward Joseva Rauto was sent off for punching Mark Loane.
The crowd was offended by the sending off as they thought that Loane, the Aussie captain, should have been sent off also as he instigated the punch-up. But the referee decided otherwise and ever since the Australian team has always been booed in Hong Kong and it has become a Hong Kong tradition.
The second Englishman was Ian Duncan who coached the Fiji team to victory in 1984 when they beat New Zealand 26-0. Try-scoring wingers Sanivalati Laulau and Etuate Gusuivalu who was nicknamed Honda were part of his team.
It was the first year that New Zealand had fielded a national side as previously they had sent champion teams like Malborough, Counties and Canterbury.
Other members of the team were Aliposo Waqaliti, Sela Gutugutuwai, Keleto Loboilagi, Dominio Manaseitava, Paulo Nawalu and Acura Niuqila.
Ryan aptly pointed out that our boys were not fit enough to play at international level and he will be working on their fitness in the coming days and weeks.
It is great news for our sevens rugby now that someone has finally admitted to what we have always claimed that our sevens players were not totally fit.
They can run but upper body strength is something that we are short of and this is about to change.
So thank you, Ryan.