SPORTS

Let Us Be Realistic

The writer is a qualified sports science expert, former national 7s team manager, successful XVs coach and interim president of the Fiji Rugby Association of Coaches. The views expressed here
26 Sep 2015 10:12
Let Us Be Realistic
Wallaby Michael Hopper (right) bounces off Asaeli Tikoirotuma.

The writer is a qualified sports science expert, former national 7s team manager, successful XVs coach and interim president of the Fiji Rugby Association of Coaches. The views expressed here are his own and not of the Fiji Sun.

The dusts have settled at Twickenham and Cardiff Arms Parks.
The Vodafone Flying Fijians have a mammoth task as they face Wales in their third Pool A game.
I don’t intend to take anything away from the players nor the technical staff.
They have worked hard to prepare the team. The players played well and improved tremendously in areas, which were our past weaknesses – like scrums and lineouts.
The bottom line is, we have lost two games and from the start we all understood that Fiji was in a very tough pool and so are the rest of the teams.
This is the World Cup and I’m afraid to say that we’ve already shown our worth on the world stage. Both England and Australia are formidable teams and have convincingly beaten us with a much professional approach to douse the so-called Fijian flair.
They have done this through their well-executed and structural approach to the game. For us there were lots of assumptions, expectations and hearsay prior to the world event.
This misled many of us as they went on to state their predictions and even claimed that we were ready for the World Cup.
The reason being, I believe we were just looking at ourselves without preparing for the real thing about England and Australia.
The real thing is on their current data, which is their:
n Strengths and weaknesses;
n Forward pack;
n Defence and attack patterns; and
n A look back at their playing history.
All this information can be collected through the coach’s networking process. Our preparation would have been strategically genuine and more realistic if we had all this information at hand. These were the very areas that exploited our weaknesses. Our attack and defensive patterns were disorganised and we never utilised our territorial advantage to the full. There is no question about fitness as they have prepared well physically.
I don’t wish to question their coaching philosophies because they play a major role in the success of a team. Rugby culture is dynamic and unless you have a thorough knowledge of it you will always struggle.
Rugby is a living game and all those who are involved with and around it must grow and live with it.
As an active arm of the Fiji Rugby Union, the Fiji Rugby Association of Coaches (FRAC) wishes to show its concern on the performances of our beloved Vodafone Flying Fijians.
In Parliament this week, Minister of Youth and Sports Laisenia Tuitubou reaffirmed that win or lose they are still our champions.
However, McKee admitted that England and Australia were the better teams I regard what they said as understatements. This is the World Cup and we expect nothing less than the best from our national team. I would agree to a close points margin. We must get to the bottom of this to lift our profile in the rugby world.
A cane cutter jokingly told me that we must change our name to Smiling Fijians because we don’t have that killer instinct, which past Fijian teams were renowned for. He went on to predict that we will lose to Wales- so three losses in a row, it’s the end of our World Cup journey. I do agree with him on one hand because when we consider our status compared to all other Tier One teams in terms of facilities infrastructure and finance we are on a disadvantage.
But, undoubtedly winning the hearts of millions of people worldwide through our smiling rugby is good enough for Fiji at this stage.
On the other hand I don’t think so and I will go along with skipper Akapusi Qera’s reassurance that Fiji will be a different team when they take on Wales and Uruguay.
That’s also the hope of the nation. Someone has to motivate the players to the highest level to go out there with the burning desire to win even if it cost them their lives,
FRAC proposes that on their return a SWOT Analysis must be conducted by an independent panel where they positively and critically assess our performance.
The outcome should be forwarded to the Fiji Rugby Union so it could take the necessary actions.
We should better our last standing by securing a semifinal berth this year.
Our chance of lifting the Webb Ellis Trophy now looks slim but it’s never too late to make a 180 degree turn and do the impossible because this is what we Fijians are renowned for. Go Fiji, go!
Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj
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