Go Fiji, go
13 April, 2018, 12:00 am
This week is shaping up to be a highly anticipated one for rugby sevens fans in Fiji. Aside from it being our fourth victory in a row at the Happy Valley in Hong Kong, last Sunday’s achievement has raised the expectations of fans leading into this weekend.
National coach Gareth Baber had taken across a power-packed squad to Hong Kong while the other nations arrived there with their second-string sides.
National skipper Jerry Tuwai spoke about the very close attachment Fijians had with Hong Kong. He spoke about respect for that link, and what it meant to Fijian rugby sevens.
Baber undoubtedly took a gamble by sending across a strong team that will back up for this weekend’s Commonwealth Games gold medal assault at the Gold Coast in Australia.
The Blitzbokke of South Africa, the Australians, New Zealand All Blacks and England kept their top squads under cotton wool for this weekend. It is frightening to think what they are prepared to unleash this weekend.
The World Rugby Sevens Series has shown us that it is quite difficult to win back to back tournaments in a leg.
That’s because the turnaround time for recovery is less than five days when one considers travelling time.
But Fijians can be very unpredictable.
Baber is probably going to rely on the notion that if he is able to motivate our men to stay focused on the task at hand, set the base for them to find their rhythm early, then we should be ticking off all the right boxes for victory.
Fans will be hoping it then sets in motion what could very well be another great achievement for Fijian sevens. We have proven that we have what it takes to be competitive at the highest level of the sport, against the best teams on the planet.
We have won in Hong Kong many times, and we won the Olympic Games gold medal in 2016.
The Commonwealth Games gold medal has eluded us.
Could this year be the year we have all been waiting for?
The hype from Hong Kong is still there.
Victory was sweet. But let’s face it. This weekend we have a massive challenge before us.
We face Sri Lanka tomorrow in our first game before taking on the might of Uganda. Then we are scheduled to play a strong Wales in our final pool game.
As Baber said yesterday, “We want to become a very difficult side to beat in the competition.”
This weekend could end up being about consistency and how much we really want this gold medal.
As former national coach Ben Ryan said before the Hong Kong 7s, the toughest side Fiji will face is themselves.
“As we would often say when we felt like we got things right with the Fijian team, when someone asks us who the main competition is, the answer would be ourselves,” he told the international media.
Let’s get behind the national side. Go Fiji, go.