Opinion

EDITORIAL: 7s Team In 4th Place! Not Such A Bad Effort

Our Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team came fourth in the 2017/18 World Sevens Series opener at 7he Sevens Stadium in Dubai yesterday. The Gareth Baber-coached side lost narrowly to eventual
04 Dec 2017 12:16
EDITORIAL: 7s Team In 4th Place! Not Such A Bad Effort

Our Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team came fourth in the 2017/18 World Sevens Series opener at 7he Sevens Stadium in Dubai yesterday.

The Gareth Baber-coached side lost narrowly to eventual winners and defending Series champions South Africa 12-7 in the Cup semifinal before they went down 28-21 to England in the third/fourth place playoffs.

It was not a bad effort after all by our team.

If we take into consideration that Baber who is also on his first coaching assignment in Dubai, took newcomers Eroni Sau, Apenisa Cakaubalavu, Paula Dranisinukala, Josua Vakurinabili, John Stewart (who is playing in his third Series tournament), Mesulame Kunavula and Kalione Nasoko.

They took on a full-strength South African and England 7s teams, who had fielded seasoned campaigners in the Series.

It was a hearty performance from our team and the future looks promising as our players gain the much-needed experience for the upcoming Commonwealth Games (April 4-15, 2018 in Gold Coast, Australia) and the Sevens Rugby World Cup (July 20-22, 2018 in San Francisco, USA).

Like every other tournament, there have been some highs and lows as well in our team’s performance in Dubai, which they must work on before playing in the Cape Town Sevens in South Africa this weekend.

THE HIGHS

νThe able leadership of newly-appointed captain Seremaia Tuwai.

Taking over from Osea Kolinisau and leading the side in the first Series tournament, the Cakaudrove native, although a man of few words was always there leading by example.

Tuwai was always there as our last man of defence and when going gets tough he often weaves his magic wand to score or set-up tries to pull the game out of the fire.

νSeries debutants Cakaubalavu and Sau have shown that they have got what it takes to be the best in the sevens code.

Cakaubalavu who played at hooker brought many fond memories of the late Vesito Rauluni with his support play and ball hunting skills while Sau, a rugby league convert, has got speed to burn and is strong in defence as well.

THE LOWS

Sloppy defence allowed opponents like Scotland to score soft tries against us.

The players seemed reluctant to go in with their tackles and when they do they either missed the mark or go high, which resulted in them getting penalised or even worse being shown the yellow card.   

Lack of aggressiveness in the breakdown area which was exploited by the South Africans as they either bullied them into mistakes or made turnovers.

This is not the end of the road for the Fiji Airways Fijian 7s team, it’s only the staring of another new journey.

The onus is now on Baber, Tuwai and the players to learn from what went wrong in Dubai, work on it and to bounce back with another sterling performance in Cape Town this weekend.

Feedback:  leonec@fijisun.com.fj



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