NATION

Rugby Is Hard Work And Dedication

With the success of our boys in Hong Kong over the weekend it got me thinking about how to inspire our young and upcoming rugby stars of tomorrow to achieve
16 Apr 2017 15:19
Rugby Is Hard Work And Dedication
Ajay Bhai Amrit training with former 7s national team with Jasa Veremalua (second from right) looking on.

With the success of our boys in Hong Kong over the weekend it got me thinking about how to inspire our young and upcoming rugby stars of tomorrow to achieve the heights of success they are capable of.

Firstly, being the best isn’t always a guarantee to success, so many times I have seen exceptional players on the field and have marvelled at their skill level and natural ability only to find out the following season they have been dropped for indiscipline problems on and off the field.

I remember interviewing former New Zealand rugby legend, Sean Fitzpatrick, who played for the mighty All Blacks for an impressive 11 years from 1986 to 1997 and was captain of the side in 1992. He held the captaincy role until his retirement from rugby.

Interestingly when he was vying for a place on the national team at the position of Hooker he wasn’t the best player in that position. Actually he wasn’t even rated in second place; he was rated 3rd or 4th.

Regardless of this he knew mentally he could improve his performance and work harder to become the best at what he did. Every evening he would work harder on the field in practice and stay behind to improve areas of his game that needed to be worked on.

This ultimately led him to become one of the most coveted All Blacks captain in the history of the game.  It was achieved through hard work and dedication as he certainly wasn’t as gifted as his rivals but what he lacked in ability he made up for in his absolute commitment to the game.

Secondly, I remember having an intense interview with Ben Ryan in regards to what made a world class championship team. Once again it was the core values of playing as a team and supporting each other at all times.

This team sport did not have time for individuals who did not want to put in the hard yards and bond as one unit. In fact Mr Ryan told me he had to drop certain players during his reign because of their indiscipline and relayed another story to the media that it was for injuries.

These decisions are not taken lightly. To win an Olympic gold and back to back World Series titles you have to be firm and fair to all the players.

Finally, I remember being invited to train with the national 7s side a few years ago as I wanted to know  what levels of fitness were required to be an elite 7s player. Well I can tell all the Television commentators, it is not as easy as it looks.

The training part was not so bad as the drills can be quite routine and also enjoyable even though it is gruelling. Fast forward to the actual preparation games and set pieces.  I remember I wanted to experience the thrill of scoring a try wide out on the wing. We all got into position ready to run the entire field from the backline passing the ball at electric speed through all 7 hands and for me to score at the other end.

All I remember was flying down the wing all 110kgs of me and the players storming at incredible speeds towards the try line. I tried my absolute best to keep up but just couldn’t do it, even at full pace and flying I was unable to work the line as I was too far behind the ball.

The incredible pace of these athletes and the speed the ball goes through their hands is a sight to behold indeed.

I witnessed up close and personal what it really takes to be the best. Good luck to the new generation of players coming through, you certainly have big shoes to fill.

Edited by Paula Tuvuki

The writer is a Fiji Sun columnist.

Feedback:  ajay@carvingdream.com

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