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Tuwai magic

Kameli Rakoko
Friday, March 28, 2014

BIG Pio Tuwai continued to weave his wand of magic as the Vodafone Sevens team outgunned HSBC Series leaders New Zealand and South Africa to win the Japan Sevens at Chichibu Memorial Stadium last Sunday.

The cool Westfield Barbarians forward won line-outs, kick-offs and his deceptive footwork and sleight of hands was the feature of Fiji's success at the weekend and had a hand in the final try that saw Waisea Nacuqu race eighty metres to score the winner at full-time.

Compared with the previous tournaments in Las Vegas and Wellington Fiji had better ball control in their passes and retained possession in rucks with forwards Tuwai, Apisai Domolailai and Benito Masilevu leading the charge.

After initially letting their guards down in the final to let South Africa keep up on the scoring board they improved their tackling in the second half and forced the Africans into mistakes.

Veteran Setefano Cakau made a timely entry with the score at 19-19 and still fresh from the bench he outpaced the African defence in another eighty-metre sprint.

He showed that he still has the pace and when the young Nacuqu did the same to score the winner it proved that this team has a lot of speed factor.

First five Emosi Mulevoro was in his breathtaking best with Samisoni Viriviri continuing their try scoring display and always breaking past the opposition.

Skipper Osea Kolinisau, who had just recovered from an injury let his teammates do the running while he maintained a quiet game but combined with Donasio Ratubuli to come off with some solid tackles in midfield.

Fiji's tactic of keeping the ball alive and recycling it successfully in rucks made the difference.

"Don't just think of yourselves, keep the ball alive and look out for the support," Tuwai was heard telling the young players at halftime in the final pool game against Samoa.

With a couple of injury worries to the side coach Ben Ryan still has a number of options he can use in Hong Kong.

The young Nacuqu showed he can be at winger in place of Viriviri in case the policeman fails the fitness test. His arm was in a sling after the Japan final and Ratubuli also had some injuries while Domolailai went off with a knee injury.

Long striding forward Jasa Veremalua spent most of the time on the bench in Japan while Nadi first-five Vatemo Ravouvou often came in as replacement. He displayed some of the mesmerising footwork that will definitely make him a star in Hong Kong given more game time.

Ravouvou is a well balanced runner and side-steps off either foot. He did one of his famous runs in pool play to score his first try for Fiji. The team combination is improving and that is the strength they will have to develop more to win in Hong Kong.





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