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DEFENCE FRAGILE

The Vodafone Fijians will need to up the ante and beef up their defence at the Cape Town Sevens this weekend. The team slipped on defence and failed to defend
05 Dec 2016 11:00
DEFENCE FRAGILE
Jasa Veremalua on the attack against South Africa in the Dubai 7s final yesterday. Photo: Ian Muir

The Vodafone Fijians will need to up the ante and beef up their defence at the Cape Town Sevens this weekend.

The team slipped on defence and failed to defend the Dubai 7s title yesterday at 7he Sevens.

Two drastic misses in the opening minutes resulted in the Springbok sevens team pouncing to build a handsome lead resulting in the Fijians playing catch up.

One came from a mistimed catch during kickoff and the second was out of the ordinary as it resulted in a walk in the park for the Blitzbok

The laid back attitude and committing the sin of turning your back on the attacking team proved costly in the end.

Branco du Preez single-handedly split the retreating defence for the Boks to take an early and easy 14-0 lead.

Although the Osea Kolinisau-captained team managed to tie the game early in the second half, the first half letdown took its toll in the latter part of the game.

The Fijians found it hard to make the offload and connect passes as they were exhausted defending their line when they should have been controlling the play.

This resulted in Seabelo Senatla and Chris Dry cruising to score to seal the win.

 

Neil Powell

South Africa coach Neil Powell applauded the defensive effort of his team to eventually win the Cup final 26-14.

“It worked well and showed how effective our defence can be when it is functionally properly, unlike on Friday.

“We had a game plan for Fiji, they are dangerous with offloads, so we needed to be in their faces. Credit to the guys, they executed perfectly.

“It was a really great performance against Fiji. We played Fiji five times last year and won three times, so we have an idea how to best contain them. You have to keep it structured.”

Powell realises the pressure will build on the side to repeat the performance in Cape Town this weekend.

“We will have pressure this week, but the key for us will be to return to zero as soon as possible. We need to start all over again. It will take another massive effort to defend our title in Cape Town.”

 

Philip Synman

Elated captain Philip Snyman said: “We just needed to stick to our game plan and structure and that’s exactly what the guys did.

“We never let Fiji into the game and then they were playing catch-up rugby, which I think worked to our advantage.

“We can be positive going into our home tournament this weekend in Cape Town, but we need to start all over again and fix a few things that went wrong. We need to recover well over the next few days.”

 

Seabelo Senatla

Player of the Tournament, Senatla, said it was important for the team to start the season well and for himself not to rest on his laurels after being named World Rugby Sevens Player of 2016.

“It was a big one for me last year, but I needed to start all over again. I am very happy what we did this weekend. These guys were awesome and continued to keep feeding me in space, hats off to all on my inside that are doing all the hard work,” Senatla said.

 

Naca Cawanibuka

Vodafone Fijian 7s acting coach Nacanieli Cawanibuka said they will need to put some face in their defence and attack in Cape Town this weekend.

Cawanibuka said the team allowed the South Africans to pressure them into making mistakes in crucial moments in the final.

“We have our moments to score, but we let it slip and made it difficult for ourselves,” Cawanibuka told 7Days.

“We had a game plan for South Africa and we need to get it right in Cape Town.”

After the first tournament, the Fijians remain the team to beat. Although we cracked in defence throughout, we still managed to reach the final.

We can’t afford to slip further as being second best doesn’t suit our profile as world and Olympics champions.

Our boys have done it before and they can do it right again.

That’s reaching the final and winning it.

 

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

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