FIJI's sevens campaign to Hong Kong fell short against Samoa in the quarterfinals and Australia scooped the Japan Sevens after a heart-stopping final against Samoa.
The final try brought the Aussies to level 26-26 all with Samoa but the left boot of Aussie kicker sealed the 28-26 win.
However, against Argentina in the plate semifinal and then South Africa in the plate final saw an improved Fiji performance in the defence of some of the players and had they played the same against Samoa it would have been a different story.
Fiji will have to improve their rucking in the next leg as that is where they continually lost possession and they will also have to look for a solution to counter opposition rucks in order to regain possession.
Argentina and South Africa enjoyed a wealth of possession and deprived Fiji the ball for long spells.
Coaching expert Dan Cortell says an effective way of disrupting the ruck is by hooking an arm under the armpit of the opposition player in a ruck and grabbing his waistline with the other hand and twisting him onto his back.
One player that has quickly matured on this leg is Nikola Matawalu.
He has become the total team player but when the opportunity arises he has the confidence to go all the way to the tryline.
He has the speed, tackle and elusiveness that will forever clinch him the halfback spot or whichever position he plays in the team.
National XV coach Inoke Male will not have to search high and low for another five eighth combination in view of future internationals in the fifteens code.
Matawalu and Metuisela Talebula are developing a powerful combination in the HSBC Sevens Series that could prove to be a matchwinner in the fifteens code.
Now that the sevens fever has died down a bit we would like to pay tribute to former All Black skipper Jock Hobbs, who was one of Fiji's very own.
There have been a few online Fiji news items about the passing away of Hobbs, but none of them acknowledge him for his captaincy of the last All Blacks team to visit our shores.
That was back in 1984 and it is almost certain that that tour would have been the All Blacks final one to Fiji now that the game has turned professional.
Jock left the field injured in the game against the Western XV in Nadi but he bounced back for the Test in Suva. Jock skippered the team as Andy Dalton was not available.
I was at the Lautoka Fiji Sun office then and was required to meet the All Blacks on arrival and write a back page story from the interview.
But all through the week the media had gone all out in the previews of the Fiji team and All Blacks and every injured player in training had been accounted for and reported in the newspaper and radio. I met Hobbs at the meet and greet area of the Nadi Airport terminal and after the garlanding and welcome fanfare I approached the NZ skipper and fired all questions looking for something new to write for the next day's paper.
But there was nothing fresh. So I tucked my notebook in my backpocket and offered to push his trolley to the waiting bus to take them to their hotel.
"Is this your first time in Fiji," I asked. "No, I grew up here and went to primary school at Veiuto Primary," Hobbs said.
It was a scoop in the next day's paper and in fact Hobbs father was a magistrate in Suva in the sixties and seventies.
The rest of the media took up the news the day after and in the next few days before the Test the stories were on Hobbs and his years in Veiuto and he walked down memory lane and visited the school.
By the time the week and the Test was over Hobbs was accepted and regarded as one of Fiji's very own who later became an All Black captain.
Another Fijian who became the All Blacks manager was Andrew Martin, a former St John Marist and Suva prop.
Andrew Martin and Kadavu prop the late Tuimasi Tubananitu, were inseparable in the field and more so off the field with their antics, especially when on tour like they did in 1978 when Suva toured the then Western Samoa.
I began the tour as a Suva Colts player and reporter and ended up in the Suva side after injuries to backline of Tom Latianara, Luke Namadila and Meli Masi.
When we toured Mt Vaea, the mountain that has the tomb of the Tusitala, or storyteller, Robert Louise Stevenson, Martin and Tuimasi had taken the lead and on the visitor's book had their signatures. T. Tubananitu and Jone Mataitini.
He was a tough prop and during Samoan entertainment, there's always an elderly and heavy belly dancer leading the siva.
Martin or Jone Mataitini would immediately be on the floor acting out every footstep, facial features right down to the protruding belly sending roars of laughter from coach Paula Cavu, manager Dr Apenisa Kurisaqila, officials Peni Waqa, Alipate.
The team was skippered by Pita Kewa and had the likes of Mosese Kama, Peter Kean, Rupeni Ravonu, Apisai Sulua, Kata Ratumuri, Anare Mualevu, Jo Dulakiverata, Isikeli Leweniqila, Latianara, Sefanaia Basiyalo, Robert Howard, Namadila, Masi, Tomu Jani to name a few.
The side played three matches the third meeting Western Samoa XV which had current Samoan coach Dick Taufua as lock.
That was the last time Suva toured Samoa and it was not only a rugby tour but good cultural experience for many.
In these days of professionalism we may never get to see those type of tours again unless Suva rugby officials make the special efforts to renew ties with our Pacific neighbours Samoa and Tonga.
Now back to the HSBC Sevens Series, Fiji are six points adrift of New Zealand and will have to win both tournaments in Scotland and England and hope that the Kiwis lose one tournament in the quarterfinal or semifinal.
The Aussies clinched the Japan Sevens with a splendid display of doing the basics right and playing according to the weather conditions by playing it safe and not make fifty-fifty passes. We have made the adjustments in the boots by changing it to the six studs instead of the plastic blades. The players are no longer slipping and sliding like we did in the Wellington Sevens.
We can thank Kinoya's Sti and Save for pointing that out and we highlighted it in this column and the Fiji Rugby Union had quickly rectified the matter and the So Kon Po turf was flying all over because of that solid stud grip.
Overall, the efforts of coach Alivereti Dere and assistant Etuate Waqa should be commended.
Second place is a big improvement from last year's fifth and definitely the performance so far will prove to be a launching pad for bigger things to come.