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Fiji Time: 9:31 AM on Thursday 24 April

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Dubai dazzled by Fijian thunderbolt

Kameli Rakoko
Tuesday, December 03, 2013

IT will go down as the most humiliating loss of Gordon Tietjens sevens team to Fiji and the most dazzling performance ever by a Fijian sevens team in a semi-final of the HSBC series.

The Kiwis were jolted to an absolute standstill as if hit by a thunderbolt and were reduced to spectators as the Ben Ryan-coached Digicel sevens team tore to shreds the reputation of the world champions.

Superb upper body strength, great flexibility and anticipation plus a perfect defensive pattern as Fijians ran away with their first Emirate Dubai Sevens win.

Like NZ coach Tietjens, the Fijian fans at home including Kiwi fans were shocked at the explosive display after they almost struggled through their pool games and quarter-final.

They went into the semi-final hungry for possession and the Kiwis were denied of these and even the scraps they managed were fumbled, one of which ended up with a Fiji try.

Tomasi Cama was injured and rested and even with Lote Raikabula and Jone Raikuna coming in late in the game the Kiwis were still shell-shocked and were not able to get their wits together.

The twin towers of Nadi-based Pio Tuwai and Semi Kunatani jumped, pushed, crashed and drew the defence to set up tries and established themselves the best forwards of the tournament.

Tuwai was at his exemplary best when he made a back pass for Emosi Mulevoro's try in the semi-finals and speedy hooker Benito Masilevu in the final.

The 44-0 score was a thorough beating and nobody including the Kiwis expected the Fijians to be so clinically vicious.

In the final South Africa was confident and determined to win led by Cecil Afrika but there was no stopping the Fijian tidal wave when they had blood on their nostrils.

They raced ahead with three tries before the break and came back with two more while South Africa made the score respectable with three late tries after the final outcome had long been determined.

The Dubai win was just a glimpse of bigger things to come for coach Ryan and the next tournament in Port Elizabeth will be a tougher one as the new awareness of Fiji's new found form will raise the level of preparedness by opposition coaches.

Tietjens will surely need to find a way to redeem his name and his side's reputation in South Africa and if Cama's injury persists it would be an uphill battle.

After the Fiji Bati big loss to Australia in the world cup semifinals Fijian fans will now have something to cheer about and look forward to in the coming months and the New Year.

Now we have a side that meets the fitness expectations of world level rugby and thank you Mr Ryan.

The Brazil Olympics sevens gold medal has just beckoned Fiji with an added sparkle and glitter.