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Looking ahead to Vancouver

Fred Wesley
Thursday, March 08, 2018

By this time last year, we were reeling from our early exit at the Las Vegas 7s and hoping to make amends in Vancouver.

There was concern about our discipline. Fans were disappointed after two members of Gareth Baber's team were picked up for dangerous play in Vegas.

It made Vancouver an extra tough assignment the next weekend.

Emotional Fijian fans were left stunned by the turn of events at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas.

It was difficult to swallow the fact that the Blitzbokkes were simply too good for us.

If that wasn't bad enough, fans were forced to accept defeat in a tournament we had dominated for two years in a row.

But that is the way of the world sevens series it seems.

There are no minnows. Every team is a threat.

Former national sevens maestro Waisale Serevi once said, seven on seven is tough with structures in attack and defence evolving the way they have.

To have a six-on-seven situation, he pointed out last year, was tougher especially if we have six on our side because of a yellow card.

It placed attention on how our men handled pressure, and how our tackles were connecting in intense game situations.

That hasn't really changed much this year.

We are under pressure to maintain discipline in a competition that has grown in popularity and intensity.

By the end of the Canadian leg of the series last year, the knives had come out as disappointed fans drowned their sorrows in defeat.

There can be no doubts about the fact that we all are proud of our sevens achievements on the international front.

The first gold medal win at the Olympic Games raised the profile of our game to dizzying heights.

Perhaps we can look back at how we fared in Canada last year.

In the end it wasn't about how our natural flair failed us. It was about how the English dominated our space, pinned us back, and nullified our attacking game. They kept us under pressure, limiting our effectiveness when we had possession.

We have the team to cause some damage at the highest end of the game. We slumped in Sydney this year, but overcame our demons to win the Hamilton 7s the very next weekend.

We continue to prove we can be competitive at the highest level of the game.

In Vegas last weekend, we played some exciting sevens until we hit a brickwall in the USA team.

This weekend, it is critical that we rediscover our hunger to win.

Fijian fans will certainly be looking forward to Vancouver with great anticipation.

Go Fiji, go.

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