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Winning World Cup Gold In San Francisco Will Take Away Pain Of Paris Loss

Winning World Cup Gold In San Francisco Will Take Away Pain Of Paris Loss
Seremaia Tuwai.
June 12
13:08 2018

The Fiji Sun last week advised caution during the euphoria after the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team’s sensational victory in the London Sevens at Twickenham.

We said then let’s not get carried away with the cel­ebration because our mission had not been accom­plished.

It was to be done in Paris with our reps winning both that tournament and HSBC World Sevens Rugby Se­ries.

Unfortunately, we lost our focus in the crucial mo­ments.

That came in the last minute of the Cup quarter-final match against England. Skipper Seremaia Tuwai hum­bly admitted that it was his mistake to kick the ball.

England picked it and scored at the other end, stop­ping our reps from advancing to the final against South Africa which became eventual winners.

That was the turning point. At half time, coach Ga­reth Baber had clearly instructed the players to keep the ball away from England and watch their offloads because he knew what the English were capable of do­ing.

Sometimes speculative kicks work and they end up with tries. But when we are leading by the narrowest of margins, we don’t kick the ball away. We shut the op­position by keeping it until the final whistle.

When we lose focus or we panic, we tend to do crazy things. That’s what Tuwai did. He simply lost it in that crucial moment.

We should not blame Baber for the loss. The respon­sibility lay squarely with the team, especially Tuwai.

Now the biggest scalp awaits – the World Cup next month in San Francisco.

The Fiji Sun said last week said that winning the Par­is tournament and the World Series would make the statement that Fiji would be the team to beat heading to the World Cup.

Now it seems South Africa would be the team to beat. It was obvious that the team missed the star power of Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova.

They should be part of the team for San Francisco to bolster strength and speed and give other teams a psy­chological edge because of their reputation.

They need to learn that there are certain things in Sevens that are sacrosanct like ball retention when you are winning narrowly and time is running out. They cannot afford wrong option taking.

This comes with experience and composure when un­der pressure.

Winning gold at the World Cup would take away the pain of the Paris loss.

NEMANI DELAIBATIKI

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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