Editorial

Yes, Our Men’s And Women’s 7s Teams Can Do It Again In Cape Town

It’s not a big ask because our men’s team has done it twice and there’s nothing stopping both our teams doing it again, 17 years later. Yes, we can.
05 Sep 2022 14:00
Yes, Our Men’s And Women’s 7s Teams Can Do It Again In Cape Town
Fiji Airways Fijiana 7s team during the France Sevens in Toulouse. Photo: World Rugby

Playing smart rugby is a key component for the Fiji Airways Fijian men’s and women’s7 teams if they are to win the Rugby World Cup Sevens in Cape Town, South Africa, this weekend.

It’s a tough task but nothing is impossible if the head coaches, Ben Gollings and Saiasi Fuli, play their cards right.

The World Cup Sevens format, which was adopted at the 2018 tournament in San Francisco, USA, demands a lot from the players and coaches.

 

The 24 men’s and 16 women’s teams have been seeded based on points accrued across the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series 2020 and 2022.

Those men’s teams ranked from ninth to 24th will take part in a pre-round of 16, with the winners of those ties going on to play the top eight seeds in the round of 16.

This format is more intense and competitive when compared to the format used in the HSBC World Sevens Series.

 

Even the legendary 7s coach, Sir Gordon Tietjens, remarked in San Francisco, that the World Cup format has made the sport more brutal.

He is true! For any team, regardless of their ranking, could bundle out of the competition if they lose their first match.

It’s a matter of taking each game one at a time, and win at all cost. For the Fijians, they’ve got to keep the opposition guessing all the time and make use of every opportunity that comes their way.

 

Moreover, discipline will be an important factor. They’ve got to avoid giving away silly penalties and dishing out of yellow or red cards in the competition.

Also, they have got to be spot-on with their tackles. The late 7s coach Rupeni Ravonu knew all eyes would be on maestro Waisale Serevi during the 1997 World Cup in Hong Kong.

He devised a plan of using two more playmakers – Luke Erenavula and Manasa Bari – that caught the opposition off guard on their way to hoist the Melrose Cup.

 

Not only that, Ravonu used the expertise of local sport scientist Samu Yavala, to lift the players’ fitness a notch higher than the other teams.

They piled big scores during their pool games so they could be ranked at the top and played the lowest ranked side in the Cup quarter-final.

At the 2005 World Cup, head coach Wayne Pivac and technical advisor Paul Feeney took a star studded squad.

 

They rotated players like Semisi Naevo, Ifereimi Rawaqa, Viliame Satala, Marika Vunibaka, Filimoni Delasau and Sireli Bobo around during the competition, which made it difficult for the opposition to know what to expect from the Fijians.

This worked for them as they came victors in the end. That was the last time Fiji won the Rugby World Cup Sevens. Now, with the women’s competition on, the challenge is on both teams to make it happen at this World Cup.

It’s not a big ask because our men’s team has done it twice and there’s nothing stopping both our teams doing it again, 17 years later. Yes, we can.

 

Feedback: leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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