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Moment of brilliance

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu
Tuesday, March 06, 2018

In front of a raucous crowd at Sam Boyd Stadium, the dazzling Fijians finished third.

On day 1, Fiji had sprinted past Russia and France but then the indecisive moment arrived and our boys faltered against the fired up Kenyans, against whom we made basic errors and looked brittle without possession and ball in hand. However, fans were entertained by our off-loading game, one-handed and scissors pass, and the ability to take physical confrontation head on, which mark the trademark of Fiji rugby. Despite the loss to Kenya, Fiji topped pool A and faced the All Blacks in a thriller. We threw the killer punch but made numerous mistakes. We were lucky that the All Blacks failed to capitalise on the opportunities and they looked tired. Individual errors, spilled balls and weak tackles had almost cost us a victory against NZ.

A try in the dying seconds to King Tuwai settled nerves. The narrow 14-10 win set the platform for a massive showdown against the form team in the Sin City, the USA Eagles.

Fiji started well and our boys were backed by a group of passionate fans. However, Baker rallied his troops with electrifying speed and two scintillating tries. I loved the half-time message by Mike Friday: "This is always going to be a tight game. We just need to tighten up our attacking structure. We are controlling the ball well. Stick to the plan. Believe!

"Be physical. One on one confrontation!

"When they engage you, it's one on one warrior battle!" These words psyched the Eagles and they snatched victory. End of our fairytale run of three straight finals. However, I was pleased with the way in which our boys bounced back from the semi-final loss.

The flying Fijians maintained their winning run against the Blitzbokke despite a relentless effort by the series leaders. The Boks missed a host of big names but the likes of Sage, Nel, Davids, Soyizwapi and Oosthuizen stood out. Thus, Fiji braved the African onslaught to win bronze medal in Las Vegas. A big vinaka vakalevu to the boys and coach Gareth Baber for the untiring efforts! The WRSS is getting tough. Five tournaments and five different winners! Heading into Las Vegas, Argentina was ranked 5th with 48 points and USA was ranked 7th with 36 points. However, they played in the final. This unpredictability is what makes the WRSS exciting. Vancouver 7s is next and Fiji has to shift into top gear. We need to maintain the momentum and progress beyond the cup quarters. Over to Maciu, our reporter from Sam Boyd Stadium, as I look forward to the delicious stories from Las Vegas and those beautiful pictures. Toso Viti!

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