What a beauty

What a beauty that was!

Toppling Kenya 31-12 in the final of the Canada rugby 7s tournament yesterday brought with it a breath of fresh air.

There was excitement in the streets of the Capital City yesterday. You could sense there was a feeling of excitement and anticipation in the wake of our win over South Africa in the semi-finals of the main competition.

Thousands of Fijians are definitely passionate about the sevens game. It shows in the mood of the people.

There is a flat sort of feeling when we lose in this game we passionately hold on to. This is cast aside when we enter the semi-finals of a tournament. There is a rise in excitement when we win a spot in the final.

That’s when the world is such a great place to be in. It means the world to thousands of Fijians to see our national sevens team enter the final and win it at such a high level of the abbreviated code.

We defeated Spain, France and Kenya in the pool rounds, and defeated the Argentine Pumas in the quarters to enter the semi-finals.

Fiji became the first team in the series to win two tournaments this season after defeating Kenya.

As national coach Gareth Baber said yesterday, “We played some great stuff, at times we played some ordinary stuff as well.

“During the first half we played ordinary, in the second half we showed what we could do to teams when our confidence is up.”

That obviously is the key it seems.

The tempo rises with our level of confidence.

The challenge for Baber and skipper Jerry Tuwai obviously is to inspire the team to gain the confidence level that is so important for us.

That’s where the fans come in as well.

We saw it in Hamilton, and yesterday, surely, the vocal Fiji fans would have had an impact on our performance.

While he was pleased with the effort yesterday, Baber made no bones about the fact that this wasn’t the finished product.

“I am pleased with the progression they (players) are making. It’s not a finished article but we are getting wins and winning finals, which is good,” he said.

The target though remains beating series leader South Africa now with 109 points, eight more than Fiji.

Can we do it?

Yesterday’s performance proved one thing. We have the team to turn heads at the highest level of the game.

Our defensive shape is looking great. Our attacks are lethal when we gain confidence and find our rhythm.

Our support play and intensity towards the end of the second half are important factors that Baber has obviously been working hard on. Our lineouts are gaining ascendency and we now pack pace.

In the squad, we have more players who are being exposed to the highest levels of competition, gaining experience to keep our team in contention for top honours into the future.

Congratulations certainly are in order. What a beauty! Go Fiji, go.

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