They Came, They Saw, They Conquered And They Returned In Humility
The First Light Taveuni 7s team brought a new breath of life and a rare 2017 greetings at Lawaqa Park by winning the Mana Whey Fiji Coral Coast 7s tournament in style. It’s not really about winning the final but the way they performed and dethroned some of the top 7s teams, which had big names and wealth of experience behind them which is basically from the exposure they have had.
The least rated team and a group of unknown players from the Garden Island of Fiji became the darling of the crowds as they captured the hearts of thousands of spectators through mesmerising rugby in Sigatoka last Saturday. Even the three guest stars in rugby (Lote Tuqiri, Karl Te Nana and George Gregan have witnessed first-hand how they have performed and mesmerised their opponents with simple basic sevens rugby.
Without any proper training facilities such as gymnasium, proper training grounds, swimming pool, professional instructors, proper nutrition guidelines and psychological game mentors, the Taveuni players just performed simple basic 7s rugby with perfect execution of skills, power and ferocious tackles and sheer pace. They performed with a lot of guts and confidence and displayed fitness at its best.
Nothing fancy, they stood face-to-face with the best and overcame all obstacles with confidence and courage.
I made a quick research straight after the game and established that they had their preparation well before hand and forfeited their festive season and concentrated on their preparation.
My source from Taveuni, revealed that the players trained in Somosomo, throughout the Christmas holiday and only rested on Christmas Day and resumed their training on Boxing Day. They again rested on Friday, December 29 and on New Year’s Day, they were back training.
No wonder they could play like that! Masivesi Dakuwaqa did it in 2015 and Ben Ryan selected him at the Coral Coast Sevens and I’m sure with the presence of the new national 7s coach on Saturday, players like Tulele and their playmaker will surely be turning his head and be considered for the national squad.
Reputations and exposures have no comparison to the level of fitness by the team and the burning desire to win coupled with a lot of confidence and courage.
My final analysis when considering the success of Team Fiji at the Rio Olympics is that good time is ahead of us.
Last year we celebrated the Rio Olympics gold medal win .That win inspired us to better our performance and I’m sure the boys from the Garden Island took full advantage of that
Who would ever believe that a group of novices from the outskirt of Fiji would have done such a great feat?
Winning the tournament is awesome but the way they won it is something for us to talk about.
Beating teams like McDonald’s Saunaka, Police and Wardens was by no way a fluke.
These teams were champion sides in their own right in previous years and have former national reps like Pio Tuwai, Samuela Saqiwa, Sanivalati Ramuvuwai, Vilimoni Morawa, Waisea Nacuqu, Livai Ikanikoda, Manueli Laqai and many others and last Saturday they were outplayed by the boys from Taveuni in all facets of the game.
Their angle running, the ferocious tackles and the execution of their offence and defence patterns all local coaches must learn from. The kick and chase style of the late national rugby 7s coach Rupeni Ravonu came back to the fore and the angle running by Tu Kiti was done with perfection.
There wasn’t any big name or speedsters. There were no track records to fall back on but they just did everything right with courage and confidence.
Taveuni came alive on their return and celebration continued from the jetty through to Vuniduva right to Welagi. Simba! all night long and why not?
In February last year, Fiji was struck by Cyclone Winston and left us with a massive loss. The win in Rio brought smiles to everyone and in February the miracle water in Natadradave and Delakado drew thousands of people to Dawasamu and blessings are heading our way.
When Waisele Serevi wrote his famous bible verse (Philippians 4:13) on his wrist he has inspired hundred of players locally and abroad to follow suit. The island of Taveuni lies on the International Dateline and the first dawn of the day begins there.
Biblically in the Book of Genesis when the universe was created it was in total darkness and God said, Let there be light and there was light.
A First Light Taveuni elder was heard saying in the celebration in Taveuni that they believed that Jesus himself is the light of the world and what a way to start this year. We looked at signs and wonders and the 1st of January 2017 was the Lord’s Day.
Call it coincidence or luck or miracle the bottom line is God wants all Fijians to work hard this year and the boys from Taveuni have proved it.
We can do the same in all aspects of life and as in 7s rugby the boys from where the first light of the day begins have shown it to all of us.
The win by the Team will definitely inspire all other teams in the country to move up another level in their preparation in the new 7s rugby season.