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Nicky Little: Ups, Downs On 4 RWC

The Vodafone Flying Fijians team management needs to allow the players to have an input on the team in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, says Nicky Little. Fiji’s all-time top
19 Jan 2015 10:45
Nicky Little: Ups, Downs On 4 RWC
Former playmaker Nicky Little is Fiji’s most capped player.

The Vodafone Flying Fijians team management needs to allow the players to have an input on the team in the 2015 Rugby World Cup, says Nicky Little.

Fiji’s all-time top points scorer believed this was important for the Vodafone Flying Fijians to succeed at the 2015 RWC.

“I just hope the management allow the boys to have an input as there will be some very experienced tour players in that squad.” Little said from London yesterday.

Elaborating more on this point, Little compared and contrasted his experiences having played for Fiji in the past four World Cup.

“In the 1999 RWC we were free to express ourselves on and off the field. No rules, only common sense and respect. ‘For Fiji’ was our buzzword. It was a very enjoyable experience,”he said.

“In the 2003 RWC, there were players who enforced religion on the team. It ripped the team apart. It showed on and off field. It hurt me.

“In the 2007 RWC we were free (again) to express ourselves on and off the field.

‘For Fiji’ began again. Management and players abided by the same rules, which solidified the whole touring party. It was a standout tour.

“The 2011 RWC, again religion overtook rugby and management had rules for everything. The team were strangled, although the boys stayed strong together, freedom was squashed, and it showed.”

The 71-test-capped fly-half admitted he had committed some mistakes and apologised to his former teammates and to the country.

“Selfishly I didn’t abide to petty rules and maybe management disliked me for it, but they did not want to listen. It was my fourth RWC and I wanted to help, but no.

“I still feel sorry for not doing more for the boys, but after 15 years of fighting against stubborn management, I was tired. To the boys and to the people of Fiji, I’m sorry. This was my only regret.”

The 38-year old stressed the importance of management and the players having a good relationship which would ultimately reflect in good and even great results.

“Whatever the job, the boys need to feel loved. The 2013 Pacific Nations Cup showed how it should be done. We had nothing, again due to a struggling FRU, but the tour was very enjoyable.

“They made a decision, as management, to let the boys run the show.

Young and old teased each other and the giggling was infectious, but we all knew why we were there: ‘For Fiji’.”

Now coaching the Under-15 and U18 teams at the Simon Langton Grammar School in Canterbury, England, Little called for a revival of the Fijian style of rugby.

“We all want to see the Flying Fijians run with the ball in true island style.”

“That is what people around the world expect, so let’s do it. Win or lose, let’s get the world talking about Fiji Rugby, the excitement, danger, fun, freedom, smiles, singing. I’d love to part of it.

But looking at the size of the players nowadays I’ll stay WELL AWAY from the field! For Fiji.”

Little is Fiji’s most capped player having debuted at 19 in a 1996 test match against the Springboks and has racked up 71 test caps, also amassing 670 points, making him the record points scorer for the Flying Fijians.

Feedback: eroni.tuinaceva@fijisun.com.fj

 

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