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The best 7s try

Maciu Malo In Las Vegas
Monday, March 05, 2018

THE unforgettable Tomasi Cama's magnificent try that helped Fiji beat New Zealand in that famous 1990 Hong Kong 7s final is still regarded as the best 7s try in the history of the 7s game.

The movement started from a wild one handed underarm pass by the late Vesi Rauluni to the heavily marked playmaker Waisale Serevi who ridiculously tapped the ball over his head to his rover Noa Nadruku. With the defence infront of Nadruku he threw pass between his legs to Cama who outpaced New Zealand's John Gallagher to score between the posts.

And the man who was one of the match officials during that 1990 final win is now the World Rugby Sevens Series Las Vegas 7s tournament judicial officer.

Jim Russell spoke to this newspaper at Las Vegas and still regarded that try as the all-time best 7s try.

He said he was one of the judges during that final and the memories of that incredible try still fresh in his mind.

"I was the referee at the 1990 Hong Kong 7s and was one of the touch judges at the final where Fiji defeated New Zealand," said Russell.

"I remember about the final which Fiji won - the place was rocket and it was full and people were screaming and everybody loved Fiji.

"There was one particular play where I was on the touch line placed right near the goal line that still fresh in my mind.

"Fiji got the ball out and was passed to Serevi and this mercurial fly-half neatly tap the ball over his head to his rover who then hike the ball between his legs and gave it to the winger to score.

"It was the most exciting try I have seen in my life."

Russell, who has been in the sport for more than 30 years, said he had never witnessed any other good tries like Cama's try.

"It was a thrill, I haven't seen any other try live as similar as that. I have even seen videos of many rugby tries -the team try from the Barbariansa in 1973 when they played New Zealand but I don't think I have ever seen a live try.

"It was incredible athleticism and he went the whole length of the field and nearly everybody was involved and the stadium just erupted.

"From that day everybody knew Fiji had magic we didn't know they had much magic."

He said such move were not taught it took confidence, mental fitness and fitness to produce magical moments on the field.

"I said to myself after that moment this is how rugby especially 7s should be played."

"You have the Fijians who were so huge, mobile and so agile with the ball. How can anyone stop them. Everybody ought to take Fiji as role model.

"Rugby is a spur of the moment but you trained for spur of the moment and you practised things to know each other, learn how each other work together and you just have confidence in the people around you.

"I know they did not practice that it was spontaneous but they knew they were going to be there and they knew they will get it out, they had an opening and gone."

Russell also rated that 1990 team as the best 7s team.

"You always have the question is the 1990 Fiji team better than the 2018 team. You know it's a different kind of a game but I think that team was perhaps the best I have ever seen taking nothing away from other Fiji 7s teams.

"That time the Fijians were too much different than everybody else and people have learnt from that and play it more of a Fijian style game."

He said the six and one defensive pattern used these days was invented by Fiji.

The late Ratu Kitione Tuibua, who guided that 1990 team introduced the pattern where six players defended upfront and the playmaker to be the sweeper.

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