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Building A New Culture With Our Flying Fijians

The Vodafone Flying Fijians are out of the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals. As far as their fans are concerned that’s fine. They are happy that the Flying Fijians have shown
05 Oct 2015 10:24
Building A New Culture With Our Flying Fijians
Members of the Vodafone Flying Fijians squad at the 2015 Rugby World Cup in Great Britain. Photo: FRU

The Vodafone Flying Fijians are out of the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals.
As far as their fans are concerned that’s fine.
They are happy that the Flying Fijians have shown that they can compete with the heavyweights of world rugby like England, Australia and Wales.

In the England game, if everything had worked out, it would have been a different outcome.

The what-ifs are plenty. The Flying Fijians also gave Australia a fright and they took the Welsh to the wire. The Flying Fijians  have shown that the gap between Tier One and Tier Two nations is narrowing.

Yesterday morning, Japan, flew the Pacific Nations Cup flag high, when they disposed of Samoa 26-5 to edge closer to a quarterfinal berth.

Earlier they had scored the biggest upset of the tournament when they downed the much fancied Springboks 34-32.

Japan and Fiji have shown that Pacific nations are climbing higher and higher by world standards.

Japan have progressed in leaps and bounds from their fourth placing in the Pacific Nations Cup.

While the Flying Fijians are out of the Rugby World Cup, the Cherry Blossoms are still in the hunt for the William Webb-Ellis Cup.

Eddie Jones, the Wallabies coach in the 2003 Rugby World Cup when England snatched that famous victory with a last minutes drop goal by Johnny Wilkinson in the final against Australia, is the central figure in the Japanese brains trust.

He has transformed the Cherry Blossoms into a lean fighting machine, combining speed and a clinical approach to the game.

At the rate they are developing, they will fully bloom for the 2019 RWC in Japan.

For the Flying Fijians, they must keep building after this RWC so that what is gained so far is not lost.

The technical aspects of their play have improved markedly and that could be attributed to the overseas technical experts the Fiji Rugby Union has hired.

The investment has paid dividends. While they have not won a game so far, the platform has been laid for the 2019 RWC.

The most prominent improvement was visible in the forward pack. Since when have we seen the Fijian scrum push back England and demolish Australian and Welsh scrums.

The change is unprecedented and the message to the Tier One nations: “Don’t mess with us, we are no longer a pushover or your whipping boys.”

The Flying Fijians have also held their heads high in the close quarter combat where they won a fair share of turnovers. The lineouts have dramatically improved.

The highly talented backline did not fully use its arsenal or show its full potential. If they did, we would have beaten England and Wales and possibly Australia.

For 2019, the nucleus of this team should be retained with the introduction of young exceptional talents. They have built a new culture that is having a positive and powerful influence on the players.

This is the right culture going by the performance of the team.

And the fans like it. They like the 80-minute never give up attitude.

They like the defence particularly when the opposition is close to their scoring line. They like to see more of the Fijian team that loves throwing the ball around.

They love the running and the beautiful sidesteps. They love the attitude of this team.

The game against Uruguay on Wednesday should be a regulation game for the Flying Fijians.

They might be disappointed that they have nothing to show for their efforts so far in the RWC.

But the fans are happy.

Feedback nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 




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