Editorial comment – RWC hype continues

Flying Fijians players Waisea Nayacalevu and Frank Lomani at the Nadi International Airport . Picture: REINAL CHAND

The Rugby World Cup continues to attract attention here at home even though our Flying Fijians have bombed out.

In the greater scheme of things, it seems Fijians have a lot more interest on the event than what the Flying Fijians could give them.

When all things are said and done though, the fact that Fijians are representing other nations at the RWC 2019 hasn’t been lost on Fijian fans.

We are linked to England, France, Australia and the high flying New Zealand All Blacks.

If it means anything, it reflects the calibre of players we are able to nurture, given the right approach, systems and development programs. We have an abundance of natural talent.

The challenge is going to be how well we can nurture and shape this to bring out well rounded and top class rugby players.

The fact that our players are even making it into packs of some of the world’s tier one teams is certainly a reflection of how much we have developed, inching away from just being a factory for players in the back line.

More of our forwards are making it into top sides in some of the world’s top competitions anyway.

This RWC has confirmed that emergence, announcing our improvement in the set pieces for instance.

Our scrums are stable, our lineout variations are settling into a phase that is very competitive against tier one nations.

The governing Fiji Rugby Union has a major challenge now.

The slow but steady move by the powers that be in world rugby league is not taking a back step.

The confirmation of a team from Fiji in the NSW competition in Australia next year is certainly going to attract a lot of interest from Fijian players. There can be no resting on laurels now.

The FRU’s challenge includes putting together a process that must focus attention on the Flying Fijians.

That means more matches against tier one nations. Otherwise we will continue to hit a brick wall every four years at the RWC.

This year is proof of the great potential we have, and the inroads we have achieved in the development of our scrum, rucks and mauls, and lineouts.

What is left is how we bring them together to develop a great Flying Fijians side that can do more than just rattle tier one nations before succumbing to them.

Attention should now focus on the top people at Rugby House in Suva.

They hold the key to giving us that much needed exposure against tier one nations.

It is not going to be easy, but that is a challenge for the FRU to overcome and plan for urgently.

The fans expect that.

Sitting against that is the rather ‘old’ scenario where we continue to hit that very same brick wall every four years.

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