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Letters To The Editor, 14th April, 2018

Letters To The Editor, 14th April, 2018
Fiji Airways Fijian 7s utility back Eroni Sau bursts through the Blitzboks in the Hong Kong Sevens Cup semifinal on April 8, 2018. Sau topped the Performance Tracker in Hong Kong and was later named in the Dream Team. Photo: Kitione Rokomanu/ Zoom Fiji.
April 14
12:05 2018

Elusive Games Gold

Savenaca Vakaliwaliwa, Suva

As our Fiji Airways Fiji 7s team take on the teams in Pool A – Sri Lanka, Uganda and Wales today – the million dollar question on our minds is: “Will our sevens boys finally stamp their mark in the Commonwealth Games by grabbing that elusive sevens gold?”

From the teams in the four pools, one can say that either Australia or England will top Pool B, it will either be New Zealand or Kenya topping Pool C, Fiji in Pool D and South Africa in Pool A.

So up front, we can see that Fiji’s biggest hurdle in capturing that elusive Commonwealth Games 7s gold is South Africa, the team to beat in the semi-finals on Sunday. From the mighty performance at Hong Kong, we can say that our boys are hot and in sevens heaven right now.

They played their hearts out for the flood ravaged Fijians at Hong Kong and I believe that will be the motivation in grabbing this elusive Commonwealth Games 7s gold.

South Africa, New Zealand, Australia and England did not send their number one team to Hong Kong, so they will be tough to beat.

But the sevens commentators have already announced in Hong Kong that with the Fijians in this kind of sevens mood, they are unstoppable and a beauty to watch.

Go Fiji Go! Get that elusive gold!

7s Champions

Timoci Gaunavinaka, Nausori

Congratulations to our sevens rugby team for the four-in-row victory in Hong Kong. In the last couple of months, national coach Gareth Baber and the boys have proven many critics wrong, including this writer … so hats off to you, sir.

But there are much bigger tasks at hand than winning four-years-in-a-row at Hong Kong. We now have the Commonwealth Games, the World Sevens Series and the Sevens World Cup all coming up in a space of a few months.

New Zealand is the only team to hold the Commonwealth Gold, World Sevens Series Champ and the Sevens World Cup at the same time. No other teams have.

But if Fiji is to win all three this year, they will be in addition to our Olympic Gold that is already in the bag. This will make us the first and only undisputed world champion in sevens rugby history.

This is why New Zealand, South Africa, England and Australia have sent their top players to the Gold Coast to train and wait while our top players were battling it out in Hong Kong last weekend.

They all anticipate that our players will be in a state of fatigue when it comes to the medal deciding matches at the Gold Coast this weekend.

These same four teams form the core of World Rugby’s tier one group. If Fiji, a tiny tier two nation with a “peanut budget” is to take all three titles this year and claim that undisputed world title, it will be a huge embarrassment that the World Rugby hierarchy dreads to face.

Our victory at Rio was a humiliation to them so they slap us with “no awards” despite our three nominees for the World Rugby Awards in 2016 and despite being voted as the Best Team of the Rio Olympic Games by 126 countries.

This is why Baber and his boys must expect more difficult obstacles to come their way in the next few months starting with the Commonwealth Games this weekend.

Taking 16 players to the Hong Kong Sevens plus a few more for the Hong Kong Tens is probably Baber’s hidden trump card. While the world expects our same group of players from Hong Kong to appear at the Gold Coast, Baber has the option of unleashing or juggling around a couple of talents to form a lethal combination never before faced by the four big guns waiting for us at the Gold Coast.

Of course, all our heart and prayers will go with our Fijian Sevens team, but it is the technical strategies that each coach choses to apply that will decide the outcome this weekend.

Never in the history of sevens rugby has any team stood at this door of unparalleled opportunity where Fiji now stands.

We can either engrave our name and legacy as the first undisputed world champion of the sport and be remembered many, many years from now for doing so or lose and slowly vanish into the mist of our biggest missed opportunity.

While Hollywood showed interest after our Rio triumph, winning an undisputed world title from our humble and resource scarce upbringing is sure to win an Oscar if the block buster movie is ever made.

Beach volleyball

Floyd Robinson, Suva

One appreciates coverage of the Commonwealth Games on television. One sport that stood out was beach volley. Despite our men and women going down to Australia and Canada by a huge margin, they displayed talent and some promise against the World Champs.

More importantly, I got thinking about the potential of this sport at home. In particular, can this be introduced as a competition be at secondary school level?

Perhaps get schools to field teams in the junior, intermediate and senior level.  Our students have much athletic ability.

We have so much sand in our beautiful islands. What is stopping us from tapping into this potential at secondary school level.

Jewel in the Crown

Pranil Ram, Nadi

This weekend is going to redefine our champion status of sevens rugby.

The only trophy that is missing from our cabinet is a Commonwealth Games gold medal.

Unfortunately, we have failed in the past five attempts. For us at the moment winning a gold medal is the most important task.

I am sure coach Gareth Baber and the boys are well aware of the task ahead.

The boys must be feeling the heat. The fans are waiting in great anticipation that the team is going to bring the glory that has evaded us in the past. If the team wins this weekend then they could be compared with great teams like All Blacks and others.

The team has taken a gamble by fielding their best in Hong Kong unlike other teams. I hope that this is a blessing in disguise. Let’s hope and pray that there is only one winner when dust settles. Go Fiji Go.

Feedback:  jyotip@fijisun.com.fj

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