Olympics | SPORTS

Ryan: We Had To Play Smart

An anxious Fiji men’s rugby sevens coach Ben Ryan was on the edge of his seat in the final minutes of their quarterfinal clash hoping that his players don’t miss
12 Aug 2016 09:07
Ryan: We Had To Play Smart
BEGINNING OF THE END: Team Fiji men’s rugby sevens rover Kitione Taliga goes for the turnover on the fallen New Zealand forward Akira Ioane as Savenaca Rawaca and DJ Forbes (4() close in during their quarterfinal clash at the Deodoro Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil yesterday.Photo: Bruce Southwick/ ZoomFiji.

An anxious Fiji men’s rugby sevens coach Ben Ryan was on the edge of his seat in the final minutes of their quarterfinal clash hoping that his players don’t miss a tackle against New Zealand.

This they did and the Fijians came out victors 12-7 as they became the first team to book their spot in today’s medal semi-final against Japan.

With seconds remaining New Zealand had the advantage and kept on mounting the pressure on the Fijians who were aggressive in defence, which caused the turnover in the final minute.

“In that last seconds, me and Naca (Cawanibuka) in our minds were saying please don’t miss a tackle, you worry about that, one miss tackle, you’re gone,” Ryan said.

“I just wanted everyone to make those tackles count, before the game we sat in the changing room and I told the boys they must make one-on- one tackles.”

Fijian captain Osea Kolinisau led the charge and scored the first try before New Zealand replied through a Gillies Kaka chip and chase to score under the posts. New Zealand kept on applying pressure as they held a slender 7-5 lead.

Ryan was also impressed with his players as they only allowed New Zealand to make one line break.

“They have only one line break which was Gillies Kaka chip but we covered them all with tackles. It was one of the toughest games against New Zealand, we have ever had under my charge.”

The coach was also impressed with how the players played to their game plan.

“The first try was wonderful, the boys kept possession, they were patient, it was important we score and we did, to get ahead of New Zealand. We kept our shape, we made all tackles. Having right options at the breakdowns and it was critical we get that turnover,” he added.

Halfback Jerry Tuwai then danced through a number of New Zealand defenders to score Fiji’s second try. Kolinisau was successful with the conversion as they led 12-7.

“We wanted to play one touch game, we didn’t want breakdowns, we didn’t want to play to their strength, which is in the breakdown where DJ Forbes, (Tim) Mickelson and everybody else in that team thrive on.

“hey are great in breakdowns, so we played away from that, just fall back, keep the ball for long periods and just wait for someone to make a mistake defensively.”

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback:  anasilinir@fijisun.com.fj

 



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