Fiji’s three in a row
6 April, 2018, 12:00 am
Since the departure of star players from the ’90s and having last won in the Happy Valley in 1999, Fiji tasted victory in 2009 under the guidance of former Natabua sprinter Iliesa Tanivula.
A drought had befallen the Flying Fijians and we remained winless in HK.
From 2000 to 2002 Fiji made three consecutive finals but lost two in a row to NZ and then to England. The English side became the third team to notch a hat-trick (2002-04).
Fiji won the 2005 RWC 7s in HK, under the guidance of Pivac and stars Serevi, Bill and Apo Satala, Delasau, Vunibaka, Bobo, Nanuku, Daunivucu, and Serevi’s protÃ©gÃ© Ryder, after destroying the All Blacks but failed in 2006 and 2007 after losing to England and Samoa respectively.
Fans were fast losing patience. Our team had failed to defend the RWC 7s title after losing to Kenya.
Tanivula teamed up with Vucago, Goneva, Burotu, Naiyabo, Pio, Cakacaka, Kotobalavu, Brown, Roko, Kolinisau, Sareki and Ramasima to lit the prestigious title and bring back glory days of the 90’s. Dere and the late Eddie Waqa and Jim Wainiqolo teamed up with the likes of Naikadawa, Vuruna, Cakau, Lutumailagi, Talebula, Vaseinubu, Botia, Nayacalevu and Matawalu to thrash the All Blacks 35-28 in 2012.
Dere was able to defend the HK 7s title in 2013 after our heroes beat Wales 26-19.
The Welsh had rattled the Fijians with a 19-0 lead thanks to Cory Allen’s tries but our boys were inspired by tries to Viriviri and Kolinisau, who came off the bench to grab a hat-trick.
Finally, it was time for Ben Ryan to weave his magic from 2015-16. Fiji was in remarkable form and sent shockers across So Kon Po.
In 2015, Domolailai, Nasilasila, Ice, Jasa, Pio, Jerry, Wini, Osea, Viriviri, Rawaca, Kunatani and Vatemo tormented NZ winning 33-19.
In pool play, Fiji beat Samoa 38-12, Belgium 38-7 and Canada 45-0. Fiji dumped England and Africa in the quarters 14-12 and semis 21-15.
The following year, Mata, Taliga, Sevu and Dakuwaqa joined Ryan’s team. Fiji beat Canada 19-17, Korea 57-0 and Wales 36-10.
In the quarters and semis, Fiji beat Australia and Kenya and outclassed the All Blacks 21-7. Kunatani was in devastating form and was awarded player of the final. The 2018 HK 7s win was Baber’s first as coach.
Baber had faith in Mesu, Nasoko, Seta, Jasa, Api, Sevu, Jerry, Wise, Nasilasila, Vatemo, Osea, Joeli, Labalaba and Ice. Fiji beat Japan 36-0, drew with Wales 17-17 and narrowly defeated NZ 17-14.
Our boys downed Canada 29-12 and Australia 33-12 in the quarters and semis. A sounding and relentless 22-0 win against the Blitzbokke silenced the crowd.
The work and effort of Nasoko was rewarded.
Fiji had created history to become the only nation to win the HK 7s three in a row twice! Cheers!