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Gracious in defeat

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam,Nadawa, Nasinu
Wednesday, March 07, 2018

For the first time, the Las Vegas 7s has a home champion. The USA Eagles became the fifth different winner from five WRSS tournaments so far this season.

An emerging force in the rugby world, it was the Eagles second ever title, the first coming in London in 2015. This means that the Eagles look top contenders when the RWC 7s kicks off in San Francisco.

Because I had missed the live coverage, I took out time to watch the delayed coverage of Fiji's games. Hats off to our boys for giving everything that they had.

The Fiji versus USA match was better than the final and had our boys being a little bit patient we would have beaten USA. Our boys gave Baker too much room to attack and the gentleman punished the Fijians.

When Baker scored the first try he toyed with three Fijian defenders and outpaced them to run the length of the field to level scores.

Elusive winger and strong defender Sau was left on the bench and when he was brought on the field he crumpled under pressure and made a blunder.

Then Naduva was shown a yellow card and with six players it was hard to defend against burly Leuta, who bagged the second try.

On the other hand, I admire the work rate of Pinkelman who was ferocious at breakdown and made crucial turnovers.

The Eagles delivered an absolutely Gladiator performance and they must be commended. The fantastic celebration on the podium with the USA flag and chanting "USA, USA, USA" sparked Sam Boyd stadium.

A third finish in Las Vegas would have disappointed some but I tell you we were beaten by a classic USA team. Courageous captain Jerry Tuwai apologised to the people on their failure to win the tournament but I don't think the loss was so bad that King Tuwai had to apologise.

In fact, Jerry and our troops must be commended for bridging the gap against NZ and the Blitzbokkes.

The reigning champions stay at the top of the WRSS standings, 13 points clear of Fiji, who are 3 points behind NZ.

There's a quick turnaround in the championship as it moves north to Vancouver and a win is vital to strengthen our position on the series table.

Fiji starts its campaign against Spain, France and Kenya and could face Argentina or England in the quarters and USA in the semis.

It's all getting heated up and exciting. Toso Viti toso! Bring it on!

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