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Smart rugby

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu
Saturday, February 24, 2018

The mastermind behind the success of provincial teams such as Nadroga and Naitasiri and former Flying Fijians assistant coach Reverend Joji Rinakama has spoken and his message to our 7s team was short and simple, play smart rugby.

Anything coming from a successful provincial rugby coach must be taken positively by Gareth Baber and his team management as they prepare our 7s team for the battle in Las Vegas and California.

While some critics are bickering over the non-selection of Katonibau and Railoa, I am fast looking to another sensational performance from our Hamilton 7s winning dream team.

I have faith in our boys knowing that we are in the rebuilding stage and our boys Sau, Nasoko, Kunavula, Jasa, Jerry, Vatemo, Nacuqu, Naduva, Josua, Paula, Sevu, Nasilasila and Mudu have started to jel.

Our boys will begin their campaign against Spain in a warm-up match.

Spain took Fiji to the wire losing out in the final moments of the second-half. This match-up against a quality Spanish opposition will set the platform for a tough competition and acclimatise our boys to the new rules which 7s teams are still adjusting to.

Fiji won hearts with a solid performance in Hamilton backed by about 22 thousand Fijian supporters. In Las Vegas Fiji will never run short of supporters and the three-day tournament and narrow pitch should make us frontrunners for the gold medal. As we count days to the magical entertainment and festive Las Vegas 7s tournament, I'll wrap up Fiji's performance since 2014. In 2014 Ben Ryan had a disastrous outing in USA as Fiji bombed out of the pool stage having lost to Australia 22-21 and the All Blacks 12-7.

However, on the final day our boys dazzled past the Kenyans 35-0 to win the Bowl competition. In 2015 things changed as the Englishman was eyeing his first Vegas and WRSS title and Fiji left its mark with a spectacular display to thrash NZ 35-19. The 2016 victory was the best and an emotional one as banners reading "Stronger than Winston" brought tears to eyes.

Memories from the ordeal left by STC Winston were erased as our boys spurred by Stallion and the "burning train" Rawaca and king-pin Taliga came from behind to beat Australia 21-15.

The emotions on the faces of our boys and Ben Ryan after the thrilling final brought our nation to a standstill. Our boys had to win for the people of Fiji.

Last year Fiji lost to the Blitzbokke, the form team in the WRSS.

After the Hamilton 7s win, hopes are high. I agree with Rinakama that Fiji has the mentality to beat the big names but they have to be fast and good.

Next week this time Sam Boyd Stadium will be in a party mood and our boys will be in action. I can't wait for the days to pass by as I anticipate a weekend of entertaining and mesmerising performance from our boys.

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