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Reaping what we sow

Timoci Gaunavinaka, Waila, Nausori
Thursday, February 01, 2018

The result we got from the Sydney 7s should not be a surprise. We can only reap what we sow.

There is no doubt on the huge pool of rugby talents we have. But it all depends on the coach we choose to mould these talents together and find ways to enhance their performance.

All of our past successful coaches have proven track records.

Either they have played or coached some of Fiji's top teams. Ben Ryan has won a few World Rugby's 7s legs before coming to Fiji. Wayne Pivac was a top coach in New Zealand.

Yet, we choose someone with such an "ordinary" record to coach our national sevens team. Then, we expect him to create miracles or perform some magic.

Days of magic are long gone. We only reap what we sow and we got exactly what we deserve.

We cannot put our Aaron Powell in a 100 metres race against Usain Bolt and expect him to win just because we gave him our prayers and blessings. We need to be realistic in this real world. We cannot daydream our way to victory.

Some critics of Ben Ryan are saying that Fiji has won two World Cups and an IRB 7s series title before Ben came. That is true but I believe each of these victories was achieved by three different coaches in a period of over 10 years.

I believe Rupeni Ravonu got us our first World Cup and then Pivac got us the second about 10 years later.

Serevi got us our first IRB 7s series title a few years after that.

But Ben Ryan alone gave us two World Rugby Sevens Series titles and an Olympics gold medal in just three years.

I have nothing against FRU's attempt to host a World Rugby leg.

But I believe we must never use this to compromise our financial ability to provide proper preparations required for our sevens team.

If we do that, we may get ourselves the biggest humiliation in having our 7s team thrashed at our home ground.

I once watched New Zealand thrash our 7s team with the likes of Filimone Delasau and Waisale Serevi at the national stadium just a week after they beat them at Wellington.

With all his qualification and experience, Ben still brought in a kicking coach, a scrum coach, a trainer and etc, to assist him and help assess his options. He even went to the families and mothers of each player.

He carefully calculated and strictly monitored his team's diet to make them feel as if they have been pumped up with steroids in Rio.

He gave breathalyser tests on his players. He simplified his game plans so players could easily absorb and understand.

That was the preparation that left no stone unturned. When we fail to prepare, we prepare to fail.

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