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Barracuda ready to go

Kameli Rakoko
Wednesday, June 04, 2014

TELEVISION commentators have dubbed him the Barracuda following his sensational form for Crusaders in Super Rugby.

Namatakula's Nemani Nadolo played a quiet game for Crusaders in their win over the Force in the weekend but he was completely devastating against the Highlanders the week before and the other games he has featured in.

The game was so intense with play stopped for several minutes in order for the television referee to get a clear view and make the right decision of Patrick Osborne's last gasp try with the scores Crusaders 32 and Highlanders 30.

Osborne's try was disallowed as the replay showed the ball touched the sideline and tryline simultaneously.

The Fijian winger played for Crusaders before and is now playing for Highlanders in Super Rugby.

This week, Nadolo and Asaeli Tikoirotuma are expected to bring that intensity over as they join the Flying Fijians preparing against Italy, making it a mouthwatering clash no one wants to miss out on.

However, Nadolo may be moved inside at second-five or centre to create the gaps for the wingers.

Newly-appointed Flying Fijians head coach John McKee has indicated that Fiji would have to establish themselves first in the set pieces and rucks and mauls before opening up.

We have to move forward before moving wide, across the field and that is in line with modern rugby as every other team is doing and if Fiji needs to be up there with the best, we have to follow them.

The old saying, "If you can't beat them join them", is most applicable in Fiji's situation and it is time to throw out the thoughts of our superiority at open rugby.

Modern rugby nowadays has become open and running the way we wanted to play it originally but now there are certain aspects of training and structure that we have to follow to achieve that.

The old style of open running rugby will only be possible if we have the ball in our possession and that is why we need to take the bull by its horns and adapt.

However, it should not be completely thrown away as rugby is an evolving game and we are just in an era that requires that if we are to win we have to play structured rugby.

Most of our players are overseas-based and rugby development is based on such structured rugby style.

All coaches would like to have in their arsenal Fiji's flamboyant rugby style of the fifties but that came with superb fitness and low tackling from prop to fullback.

It takes a different type of fitness and athleticism to achieve that type of rugby to maintain a discipline of below the knees tackle for eighty minutes.

At the moment we still have the record of the most high tackles and yellow card when we played against Italy last year.

One player that Fiji most welcomes back is former skipper Dominiko Waqaniburotu.

The tough utility is one man McKee will need to achieve his aim in ball winning especially in the rucks and mauls and going forward as he has proven many times before in Waikato and for Fiji.

As rugby is not only about attack coach McKee, in a Fiji Rugby Union release said: "We will in the coming camps be working very hard to ensure that defence system are of world class and can resist any type of play the opposition may attack us with."

That's what we call total rugby.

The Italians and the world may think they are strong in the scrums, lineouts and mauls. But this Saturday the Flying Fijians and John McKee have a surprise coming their way.

Come down to the stadium and see. Go Fiji Go.

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