Opinion

Right Time To Strike Back, Take Charge At Cake Tin

The time is opportune for the Vodafone Fijian 7s team to spring back and take charge of the 2016-17 World Sevens Series at the Wellington 7s this week. The third
22 Jan 2017 11:00
Right Time To Strike Back, Take Charge At Cake Tin

The time is opportune for the Vodafone Fijian 7s team to spring back and take charge of the 2016-17 World Sevens Series at the Wellington 7s this week.

The third tournament in the series at the Cake Tin,  Wellington’s Westpac Stadium, holds special significance in our survival in this year’s world series race.

We can’t afford to slip further from our current third position behind England and South Africa.

The first two tournaments in Dubai and Cape Town are done and dusted.

Our performance in the first leg was a complete turnaround coming off our high profile status as defending world and Olympic 7s champions.

Neil Powell’s Blitzbok made a statement when they won the Dubai 7s beating our Vodafone Fijians 26-14 in the Cup final.

Aside from being sharp on attack, the team’s organisation on defence and ferocity at the breakdown area were spot on.

Powell’s men maintained the consistency a week later when they reached the Cup final for two weeks in a row, only to lose to eventual winner England.

The Osea Kolinisau–captained team’s performance slipped further when they lost to England in the Cup quarterfinal 26-31.

Learning from defeat is a perfect way to re-launch our campaign and an ideal catalyst to reclaim lost glory.

In terms of resources, manpower and high tech facilities for training, Fiji and South Africa are poles apart.

Powell has done a great job since taking charge in 2013 assuring that the correct systems are in place for the sevens programme at its base in Stellenbosch.

Sevens Academy manager Marius Schoeman and Powell have worked well together in assuring a uniform playing style.

Players are scouted from a young age and brought through the system with a clear understanding of their roles in the sevens game while the conditioning of the players is second to none.

Werner Kok, Seabelo Senatla, Kwagga Smith and Cheslin Kolbe are a few of the big-name players to have benefitted immensely from these structures.

Our island boys trained at the Uprising Beach Resort ground and continued to defy the odds on the world stage.

But Fijians flair alone is not enough if we are to consistently beat the Blitzbok, England and New Zealand.

We need to be physically strong when push comes to shove and have that big game temperament when under pressure.

Under new coach Gareth Baber, the team has gone through the hard grind during training at Uprising and at the sand dunes in Sigatoka.

We are fortunate to have South Africa in our pool and it’s a perfect opportunity to get even at the Cake Tin.

Last season, South Africa won one title in 10 tournaments. Fiji claimed three Cup titles while New Zealand – who finished third behind South Africa – also bagged three titles.

We have not won Wellington since 2010. A win is long overdue and it’s also significant if we are to defend our world champion status.

OSEA BOLA

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj

 

 

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