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Comedy of errors

Kameli Rakoko
Monday, May 12, 2014

PLAYING in the land of the greatest poet and playwright William Shakespear, the Vodafone Fiji Sevens team may have just re-enacted one if his most ludicrious play called, A Comedy of Errors.

Leading with two tries our boys gave in to pressure after a mistake-ridden loss to Australia yesterday morning as the Aussies hit Fiji's weakest point by denying our players possession.

However, in retrospect it was a good exercise for our boys and coach Ben Ryan to find out the weaknesses of his new players and went about plugging the holes when they faced Samoa last night.

Fiji's defensive lapses and dilly-dallying behind the kick-offs and rucks were two areas needed to be improved and it gave the Aussies the opportunity to maintain the ball for long.

After a 12-7 lead at halftime Aussie coach Michael O'Connor told his boys: "We hold on to the ball and we control possession."

Fiji cheered on by a big Fijian community mostly British Army soldiers and their families, which sparked off an early two-try lead.

Star rover Donasio Ratubuli had displayed maturity through his experience of playing continously through the competition from last year beginning under past coach Alivereti Dere.

When he was first selected he was a real novice, lacking confidence.

But he has been toughened like metal mellowed through the blast furnace of the HSBC competition and pounded and shaped on the anvil of technical expertise of top coaches Epeli Lagiloa, Dere and Ryan.

He breaks tackles, has a lot of confidence and comes up with beautiful offloads, grinding tackles and real serious play. He sent halfback Emosi Mulevoro to the tryline after a one hand offload.

Then Ratubuli blasted off for aN 80-metre run after some mesmerising display of chip and chase by Vatemo Ravouvou.

Then just at the halftime hooter he made a try-saving tackle denying Australia's Ed Jenkins a try on the line.

Whatever Fiji achieves from the quarter-final onwards Ratubuli has shown that he will be there making the difference between losing and winning.

Samisoni Viriviri was rested in the final pool game as Ryan gave the new boys a run but the Dratabu man hit the 50 tries mark in the 2013/2014 season and it will take a very, very great man to beat the record.

The icing on the cake would be the IRB player of the Year award as Viriviri has also been named in the 15s squad.

One of the drawbacks of the last couple of tournaments is the form of schoolteacher Benito Masilevu, who has been acquring a lot of mistakes, it is almost like he is suffering from an unseen ailment or injury.

Dropped balls, indecision, loss of speed. He has not been able to recover that devastating form that helped Fiji to a 44-0 win over the Kiwis in Dubai.

Leo Naikasau on the other hand has put his hands up as the man who could replace him but Ryan was using three tall timbers in the forwards and may do so for the rest of the tournament.

Another old Fijian sickness seem to creep up and that was the state of being aloof or uncommitted.

Ben Ryan asked at halftime: "We wanna win don't we?"

Dere asked the same question in Tokyo last year at halftime saying: "Va'cava sa kua?" (What's happening, don't you want to play?)

The question is often asked when the coach is watching from outside with great urgency and the players are responding with lethargy.

Hopefully that will not happen against Samoa in the quarter-final, maybe South Africa in the semi-final or maybe Australia in the final.

Once Fiji coaches and technical team do their homework well overnight in righting the wrongs from Day One then all should be set.

In the words of the great English poet himself, Shakespear said: "Readiness is ALL"

Go Fiji Go!!

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