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Overcoming The Second Half Meltdown

The Vodafone Flying Fijians did it against the Maori All Blacks and again against Manu Samoa last Saturday. In the match at the ANZ Stadium in Suva, the Flying Fijians
28 Jul 2015 09:02
Overcoming The Second Half Meltdown
Vodafone Flying Fijians did it against the Maori All Blacks and again against Manu Samoa last Saturday.

The Vodafone Flying Fijians did it against the Maori All Blacks and again against Manu Samoa last Saturday.

In the match at the ANZ Stadium in Suva, the Flying Fijians were leading 26-10 at halftime. But they then allowed the Maori All Blacks 17 unanswered points in the second half  to lose by one point.

It appears to be their Achilles Heels at the moment as they prepare to face Japan in a do-or-die battle to top pool two of the World Rugby Pacific Nations Cup.

The meltdown in the second half could be due to either lack of fitness or mental toughness or both.

When the spirits are down and the gas tanks are empty, meltdown inevitably follows.

Against Samoa, Fijians were leading 17-10 at halftime. They got their bonus try soon after the start of the second spell and raced to 27-15 with a penalty.

Instead of sealing the game at this point, they began to show the same symptoms that led them to relinquish their  lead in the Maori All Blacks game.

The intensity and consistency began to waiver and gaps appeared in their defence. It just seemed as if they thought they had done enough to win the match. In a class outfit like Samoa you never relax or become complacent.

That’s what happened and they paid the price. Luckily, it was a draw. They could have lost.

The passionate Samoans played 80 minutes rugby and were rewarded by rescuing the game they would have lost if Fiji had maintained their momentum.

Fortunately, it is happening now and there is time to fix it before the World Cup begins.

The positive signs for the Fijians were how our forwards stood up to the much fancied Samoan pack and the quick recycling of  ruck balls. They rattled the Samoans and pushed them back a few times in the scrums.

The Flying Fijians showed a lot of promise. The speed of the ruck ball is now employed by tier one nations. It was clear from the internationals played at the weekend that we will see a lot more of it in the build-up to the World Cup.

The test between the All Blacks and the Springboks was classic. It was played at a frenetic pace. The All Blacks made their intentions clear right from the beginning that  they wanted to speed up the game through quick recycle ball. The Springboks responded by matching the All Blacks.

It’s the sort of high intensity game that we are likely to see in the World Cup.

The Fijians would have to rise to that level. While they have improved from their previous matches in some departments, they still have a fair way to go before World Cup.

Because they are up against Australia, England, Wales, and Uruguay in their pool, they need to be at their absolute best to have any hope of advancing to the quarter-finals.

They have a wonderful opportunity against Japan to lift their standard closer to World Cup level.

They have the ability and capacity to smash Japan and issue a warning to other teams.

They can only do it, if they play with the same intensity for 80 minutes.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

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