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Editorial: Have We, At Last, Found Our Mojo?

Editorial: Have We, At Last, Found Our Mojo?
Mission Accomplished! Leone Nakarawa points to the stars after he scores the winning try against Tonga, 8 July 2017. Photo: Atama Tamanilo
July 18
11:01 2017

Have we finally found a winning formula for our national 15s side, the Vodafone Flying Fijians?

Is the tide perhaps turning in our favour with the lethal combination that has emerged?

Or is it that phase where we win handsomely and then go on a downward slide?

Optimism is there that perhaps we ‘have come of age’. Wins against Tonga and Samoa on their home grounds are hard to come by.

Such is the ferocity of  the competition among the three island nations, when it comes to defending their own turf. The match against Tonga was perhaps the more difficult one as the ‘Friendly Islands’ tag was left on the sidelines for 80 minutes and Fiji managed to get their war tactics in place to win that battle, 14-10.

Next up was Samoa and with the 16-14 Samoan lead at the break, it seemed Fiji had slipped back into that dreaded mood. As the saying  goes, the rest is history as Fiji regrouped and left the Samoan side facing a disappointed home crowd.

The 38-16 margin, showed the ruthless side of the Flying Fijians as they continued to develop and grow in depth. They have shown their uncanny ability to play structured rugby sprinkled with unorthodox approach.

When they turned on the switch in the second spell, the Samoans could not contain the Fijians’ physicality and speed.

From our perspective it was a delight to watch. It was the Flying Fijians at their best. The Samoans are no slouches. Although they lost to Tonga, they went close to upsetting Wales at Eden Park in Auckland.

We are all basking in our latest glory and we deserve to celebrate. Our winning run is unprecedented. It is the first time that we have won four World Rugby tests consecutively.

It was a great team effort with lock Leone Nakarawa towering above everyone else as an outstanding ball player.

But the big grin on the face of head coach John McKee sums up the moment. We have not seen McKee like that for a while. He has every right to be smiling. He has endured criticisms, especially after that infamous loss to Georgia not long ago.

He has bounced back, stuck to his strategic plan with patience and he is now reaping the rewards. He has player depth and things are humming along nicely towards Japan for the next Rugby World Cup.

This new era for Fiji is not a dream anymore. World Rugby  must take us seriously and review our status and ranking.

The Wallabies have allowed us to play against them. Now it’s the  All Blacks’ turn to favour us with a test. After all it would be a fine gesture in recognition of Fijians who have worn that proud All Black jersey such as Joeli Vidiri, Joe Rokocoko, Sitiveni Sivivatu, and current All Black Waisake Naholo.

But a word of caution. Let’s not sit on our laurels.

Let’s keep our focus on the preparation for Japan.


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