Satala inspires team

Viliame Satala, his wife Laisa and son Jerry receive a gift from Lautoka busineman Raymond Singh at the Lautoka Golf Club on Saturday. Picture MAIKELI SERU

For the selected few, stories of success and victories were their privileges.

So were members of the Lautoka Golf Club on Saturday when Fiji 7s assistant coach Viliame Satala shared the last moments inside the team dressing room at Cape Town, South Africa that fired the players up before Fiji met New Zealand in the Melrose Cup final.

Fiji won 29-12 to bring the darling of rugby’s abbreviated code cup home for the third time.

“It was a tense moment because we were going to play in the final,” Satala started his tale as the golfers listened like primary school students.

The Lautoka Golf Club reception areas was pin-drop silence as ‘The Stretcher’ revealed for the first time what transpired inside that dressing room that later killed all New Zealand hopes in South Africa.

Those moments were only privy to the players – the message from the coach to the players.

What to be done on the field.

“I saw that they were tense,” Satala adds.

“After Ben (Gollings) spoke, I stepped forward, and with raised and stern tone said,‘Mutu tola ve au. Na fainala qwe ena ladetou. Qito vakaikai. Mutu la na qwaqwa. Dou rai mai vei au. Na fainala qo e na nodatou. Qito vakaukauwa. Dou lako e na qaqa (Look at me. We will win this final. Play hard to win).”

He said it was the first time he related those final moments publicly.

“I told them to play as a team, move together and remember that we are there for Fiji, our families and ourselves.

“I looked at them straight in their eyes and said ‘People at home talk about us when we lose. They join us when we win. They want the Melrose Cup. This is your chance, take it. You win this final, it will pay all our debts in losing the Commonwealth Games and the Los Angeles Sevens.

“Believe in yourself and have confidence in what we have been talking about. Go out there and show that you are the real champion’.

“After our prayer, I saw that they wanted to fight. You can see it in their eyes, but they were calm and ready. They had the silent instinct that Fijians are known for. I knew we tapped the right button and were just waiting to unleash them.

“And even if the final continued for another 30 minutes, our boys would have crossed 100 points. They came back and said that they still wanted to play.

“We thank the players, their families, Government and all Fijians for helping the team win the Melrose Cup.

“For me, it is a personal victory that I had been waiting for 17 years.”

Satala was the chief guest of the club accompanied by his wife Laisa and son Jerry.

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