Fortifying Flying Fijians Defence In Battle To Win

Modern day coaches see a strong pack and a stern, fortified defensive approach to the game as the way forward. That’s how rugby games are won nowadays as teams hardly
25 Dec 2016 15:40
Fortifying Flying Fijians Defence In Battle To Win
Vodafone Flying Fijians

Modern day coaches see a strong pack and a stern, fortified defensive approach to the game as the way forward.

That’s how rugby games are won nowadays as teams hardly succeed if they are brutal in attack but frail in defence.

The Vodafone Flying Fijians tour of Europe last month showcased we lacked badly in defending our fort.

While the coaching staff may blame the lack of preparation time, conceding 15 tries in the first two games reflected badly on our image as the     10th ranked nation in the world.

We don’t have to look far but to our neighbours New Zealand, home of the champion All Blacks, on how they performed in 2016.

They are poles apart, building the gulf, even against Southern Hemisphere giants Australia and South Africa.

Clever strategist and coach extraordinaire Steve Hansen, knows how to turn the screw not only to win the battle, but to unleash the army so as to win the war.

They don’t overcomplicate things but play simple and basic rugby and do it so well – they kick more than other teams but they kick to contest or dominate territory. They recycle the ball out wide – where other teams are traditionally weak on defence.

Their watertight defence and big hits allow them to play attacking rugby.

They play to the rules and the whistle and know the importance and pride of donning the jersey.

Defence continues to be the weakness of our Vodafone Flying Fijians and hopefully this would be the thing of the past as from 2017.

Our defence was in disarray in Belfast where the Barbarians scored six tries in the 40-7 loss.

It got worse a week later against England at Twickenham in London.

Although we scored three tries, the 58-15 loss was beyond comprehension.

While we are holding our own in the scrum since the 2015 Rugby World Cup, we can’t afford to crack in other facets of the game.

2017 is big year for the Vodafone Flying Fijians as we need to qualify for the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

We need to beat Tonga and Samoa to be in a better seedings before the RWC pools are drawn in May in Tokyo.

Coach John McKee should be complimented for developing and building rugby stocks in the forwards. We have men to prop up for the next few years in  Manasa Saulo, Leeroy Atalifo, Campese Ma’afu, Joeli Veitayaki and Peni Ravai.

In the locking department Leone Nakarawa, Tevita Cavubati and Api Ratuniyarawa, Nemia Soqeta  and Dominiko Waqaniburotu are doing well.

Next year we will be tested against the Wallabies in Melbourne in June followed by Scotland and Italy.

We are proud sporting nation and a test rugby country therefore we must live up to our status as a deserved among the best 10 teams in the world.

McKee must start by fixing the defence.

7s Test in Wellington

The Vodafone Fijian 7s team will need to get back to their best at the Caketin in Wellington, New Zealand, in the second leg of 2016-17 World Sevens Series next month.

 Being the defending world and Olympic champion, we have not won at New Zealand’s windy capital since 2010. And we have yet to grab a win at the Allianz Stadium in Sydney. Furthermore we have yet to score back-to-back wins since the series started in 1999.

This is a challenge for new coach Gareth Baber and the team to overcome.

But first our defence needs to be watertight if we are to be lethal in attack and do what we do best – scoring tries.



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