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Fiji Rugby qualifies for 2015 RWC

Kameli Rakoko
Wednesday, July 02, 2014

LAST Saturday's Rugby World Cup qualifier may have broken the previous record of 98 points against the Cooks in a previous Test match but it was not as dominating as the scoreboard told.

The Flying Fijians have received the message loud and clear in view of the Pool of Death that awaits them at the 2015 RWC that they will lock horns with hosts England, two-time champions Australia and arch rival Wales.

The fifth opponent is yet to be decided from the African pool.

Despite the thrashing the Cooks were quite scary in the pre-match war of words and Fijian fans did have an anxious first 25 minutes as the New Zealand-based side maintained possession and did what they promised to do.

The relentless attacks by the Fijians and tries that were scored were perhaps a backlash from those challenging promises and the loss to another Pacific Island side, Samoa, the Saturday before.

One wonders if the Cooks, with that kind of potential, approached the game differently by keeping a low profile and underdog tag and then surprising the Fijians with their play.

However, with two former RWC champions awaiting us with Wales, coach John McKee has the task of bridging that chasm in exactly 16 months.

Scrummaging will always be our Achilles heel but it does not have to be.

When Leone Nakarawa was yellow-carded against Samoa, winger Napolioni Nalaga replaced him during scrums and Fiji stood their own and the Samoans tried hard but failed to push us back.

Nalaga was able to lock that scrum to a standstill and it is something the rugby experts and physics teachers could ponder on as we look for solutions to our scrum problem.

The beauty of rugby union is that it has a thousand options.

We want our locks to be line-out jumpers and be mobile but since we have this prevailing problem, why don't we just select a 130 kg lock whose speciality is locking scrums.

Props take the blame for most of our failure in that important department but they can only push as hard as the guys in the back are doing.

But congratulations to the Flying Fijians and the next hurdle is winning the Pacific Cup and beating Japan.

Former Wallaby coach Eddie Johns is doing wonders with the Japan team and they have so far claimed the scalps of Samoa, USA and Italy.

They are the benchmark that we have to gauge our strength on and playing Japan will be the highlight of this competition.

On their current form they can beat any team in the world.

As for our sprinter Banuve Tabakaucoro, he is just fraction of a second away from hitting sub-10 seconds.

Go for it Banz.

In soccer Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Netherlands provided exciting weekend football but Brazil and the Dutch got away by the skin of their teeth.

The Dutch survived the South American midday heat, despite the controversial penalty given to Arjen Robben, however fans claim they would still have won anyway.

Striker Wesley Snyder may have just found his goal shooting boots.

Anyway here is a funny side of Australian rugby league taken from the Good, the Bad the Ugly website.

So the whistle went and the finger pointed to the sheds even more laughter as Jim Mills turned to walk off, continuing to chuckle to himself.

Referee Billy Thompson couldn't stand it anymore and had to ask what was so funny.

Jim turned and pointed to Billy's hair. "where did you get that f@x@in' rug" was all he said before turning to leave the field for yet another early bath, and leaving the remaining members of both sides in fits.





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