Letters to the Editor: July 26

Sevuloni Mocenacagi offloads during Fiji's RWC 7s semi-final match against New Zealand at the AT&T Park in San Francisco yesterday. Picture: JOVESA NAISUA

Tough road to a series leg
THE sevens team failed at the Rugby World Cup 7s and the road to hosting a sevens series tournament now becomes tough. The Fiji Times headline report is true to state the strong challenge in front of World Rugby to make a decision. New Zealand’s win at the RWC 7s solidifies their chances as hosts of a series event. I believe the choice was between NZ and Fiji and with two solid victories first at the Commonwealth and the WC cannot deny them a right to host. Thank you The Fiji Times for reporting that Fiji was the No. 1 in fan base and that is crucial also for a series bid as World Rugby also analyses the movement of fans in each tournament and Fiji leads the way. Lastly for me the expectation last week of our team’s chances was high. The striking reality remains in a 15-minute sport to play your cards right from the first second and everything cannot be achieved in 15 minutes it’s too little a time to dream of a famous victory. To Gareth and the boys, we have now climbed the summit on three occasions but never reached the final flag to hoist in victory. As fans and coach/management and players, the real test is now rising after falling badly. I/We and everyone needs to responsibly shoulder the loss and standup again. That is how Fiji is for the world to see. Thank you The Fiji Times for sharing some light on our sevens series bid and we the fans now need to make it happen. Viti kei na vuravura joka na fans. SHALWYN PRASAD, Mukta Ben Place, Nabua, Suva

Let’s move on

IT’S hard to please fans when our 7s team loses. No matter what coaches do when the team loses, they feel the brunt of our passionate fans and armchair critics. When Baber led us to five wins on the circuit he was hailed a hero. Then we lost the World Rugby Sevens Series title and the good man became the villain. Baber then recruited the likes of Tuisova, Nakarawa, Kunatani and Radradra and we were content and satisfied. When Fiji crushed Japan and suffocated Argentina we clapped and danced with delight. On Monday hopes were high and a huge crowd was gathered at Sukuna Park. Screens were put up so that the nation could unite and cheer our boys. Fiji led 12-10 at half time and all was well. Then the moment of disappointment as Fiji lost to the defending champion and all sorts of comments on social media ridiculed the coach and overseas-based players.
We used Sau and Josua’s omission as an excuse for the team’s loss. Fans are now calling on heads to roll while the All Blacks won one out of the 10 tournaments but they did not panic. I am pleading with fans to support the team and the coach. We can’t be changing coaches now and then.
Even the great Serevi felt the wrath of the fans when Fiji lost the 2016-2017 HSBC WRSS crown after the loss to Wales in the cup quarters despite leading Fiji to the Melrose Cup win in 2005 and our first WRSS crown. Let’s move on ladies and gentlemen! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM, Nadawa, Nasinu

What ‘ifs’
HAD it been a local coach to have failed in winning the series, Commonwealth Games and RWC 7s, he may have been sacked even before the sweat on players’ foreheads had dried up. I am not suggesting anything here. I had strongly disagreed with Baber’s credentials initially, then I supported him full swing when he started winning, but now I am confused. I don’t know where I had erred, in not believing or in believing recently. To err is human, they say. But just think, what if it was a local coach at the helm. I am glad we got Hong Kong though! But then, even a PE master can get that one right with a bunch of patriotic youths. Confused sara ga, quite obvious looking at what I have scribbled above. Meanwhile, let’s accept the fact that NZ plays ball when it matters. We’ll wait. But it was this team, yes, this team, that was supposed to be the best and strongest ever! I don’t know. I am glad that some of us can express ourselves on these pages. Imagine the “gang” who can only vent it out around the tanoa, albeit with expensive grog, and others who resort to shouting expletives on the streets. Some changed sapo that fateful morning. My phone’s Walesi app was buffering most of the time so I managed to watch, like one minute of the game, including the final whistle. Blessing in disguise, to spare me the heart problem. And then, you have the gang in offices trying to put on strong faces as if it didn’t hurt. DONALD SINGH, Lautoka

Election fever
THE Parliament is not dissolved. The election date is not out but the people are talking and guessing. Last Friday (20/07) I attended a wedding in Nadi. Roughly 400 to 500 people were present. The host did extremely well to cater for such a large number, and his family members were all over meeting and greeting their guests. Kava was flowing at various selected spots. Savouries were served while the entertainment items continued. Tasty food followed after the main rituals were completed. Since I spent over two decades in Nadi during my working days, I was happy to meet some of my old friends. During the four hours I stayed in this decorated compound I found two topics that dominated discussions. The main one was the Rugby World Cup 7s tournament, a bit of soccer (BOG) in the West and the other common topic was this year’s election. According to what I have gathered, people even in the rural areas are taking a lot of interest in this year’s election. Some of them were very vocal and said openly that the real battle will be among three major political parties. Few even predicted for upset result. I am not sure if the real election campaign started but I believe people are free to express their views and opinions. VIJAY MAHARAJ, Navua

New mosquito
THE Wolbachia pilot project launched recently will certainly pose a vile threat to those deadly mozzies. As it will be an uphill battle to distinguish the good guys from the mean ones, can we now please strategise on which ones to “Mortein?” On a positive thought, let us be optimistic that this new strain of mosquitoes triumph over the merciless Louie and his loyal gang of dengue spreading mercenaries. Wolbachia “tho humlog bhi bachgiya”. NISHANT SINGH, Lautoka

‘Nemesis’ resurfaces

OUR sevens rugby “nemesis” has resurfaced after a long lay-off. This is the “mentality” malfunction during top level competition. It infiltrated our team at the 2018 HSBC final leg and continued its dominance during the last two crucial games of the San Francisco 2018 Rugby World Cup 7s. This “nemesis” manifested individualism and star-minded acts that quickly displaced teamwork which led to the low standard overall team performance.
The primary accompanying factor was excessive media publicity that generated pride which then conceived belittlement, disrespect and overconfidence.
We can possess the best physical and skill aspects of the sevens code but unless the appropriate “mentality” can not be activated when it matters then all is in vain. That was the secret weapon of Ben Ryan. He usually emphasised at half time breaks “talanoa mada” which literally meant “we are a playing as a team”. Samu Silatolu, Nakasi

World Cup performance
THE World Cup 7s last weekend at San Francisco’s AT&T Park brought lots of mixed reactions from the fans all over the world. My son and I, like most of the other Fiji fans, were the most disappointed and saddened by the performance displayed by the Fiji team. The performance was below par of any fan’s expectations. The team lacked total physical fitness, stamina and enthusiasm at all levels. The team offence and defence were very poorly executed. The team looked exhausted and tired. The team did not have speed, coordination and seemed to have difficulties playing under pressure.
New Zealand team outclassed Fiji in every move, tackling, offence, defence, passing, receiving etc. The players also lacked the “cage grip” of the ball every time they received a pass or picked up loose ball and failed to secure the ball. Diet should be considered for review as it plays a very important role in any athlete’s performance. The team did not spread far enough on the field and lacked long passing skills which New Zealand and South Africa capitalised on throughout the semi-final and third place position play-off respectively. Fiji played too much close contact which for 7s is a disaster. The coach should have focused more on offence and tackling drills. I believe the team lacked and had a very poor training and were stunned by the performance of teams such as New Zealand, England and USA etc. I think it’s about time there should be a special investigation set up by an independent counsel to find the cause for the poor performance including the coach’s contract review. We as fans cannot let this be repeated.
Abendra Ram Tahal, California, US

Better team
NEW Zealand was the better team. So enough already. Wise Muavono, Balawa, Lautoka

Blaming Baber

WHY the hue and cry. We lost fairly. NZ was the better team on the day and so was South Africa. Let’s move on. Dan Urai, Lautoka

Life goes on
WITH NZ taking out the Rugby World Cup 7s, it sure hurts like crazy we lost in the semi-final match, which of course was a game that could have gone our way. Anyway one gets to look at it, NZ came out firing and deserved the win and beating Fiji made them through to win the Melrose Cup, so like one commentator mentioned — it takes diamonds to cut diamonds — if you catch the drift. So, we the fans just need to get over ourselves and have humble pie for a while until we accept the fact of not winning. Life goes on people. There is always another time and place to settle the odds or whatever. Cool tu ga, peace tu ga. Toso Viti, toso. Richard M Abel, Samabula, Suva

Ratu Peni

SOME 7s fans have suggested that Ben Ryan should come back. I know that Ratu Peni Rayani will not be coming back to Fiji. I read it in “a book”!
Allen Lockington, Kava Place, Waiyavi, Lautoka

Retention dams

THANK you, Minister for Waterways and Environment, Dr Mahendra Reddy. Finally, a retention dam will be built in the Nadi river catchment (FT 25/7).
But I did not know that other such dams were built some years ago. If they are still in use, can farmers in the vicinity access the retained water to irrigate their crops during this dry spell? Samu Railoa, Tailevu

Siblings’ time
I REFER to your article titled Siblings reminisce “good old days” by Serafina Silaitoga (FT 23/7) where a remembrance eulogy was made for the Reade family. I lament the brief description accorded to the famous George Reade, who was a pioneer of the first seven-a-side tournament in Fiji — the Marist 7s. He was referred to as George one of the four children of Elisabeta Chute and Albert Brigan Reade. Publicity for renown people please!
Amenatave Yaconisau, Palm Drive, Delainavesi

Monopoly game

EVERYBODY, who has been given a business grant should also be given a set of the game called Monopoly. This game can teach you a lot about business and life in general. The first thing you learn from this game is an early start gives you the biggest advantage. Sukha Singh, Labasa

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