Opinion

Editorial: Rugby Reality Check As World Cup Looms

It’s always great to be positive, having an air of optimism around. It’s great to think that whatever happens today, there is always time to make amends and sort things
04 Feb 2019 10:00
Editorial: Rugby Reality Check As World Cup Looms

It’s always great to be positive, having an air of optimism around.
It’s great to think that whatever happens today, there is always time to make amends and sort things out tomorrow.

But it is how we turn things around and make the world take notice that we have learned our lesson is what matters in the end, which in turn defines our character.

It is how we maintain our consistency and adjusting to life in difficult circumstances to stay on top that will make us last in the long run.

We were the envy of the rugby world when we beat France for the first time last November.

The win enabled us to be ranked, for the first time, eighth in the world.

But for how long will that last will depend on how we perform on the big stage – the 2019 Rugby World Cup in Japan in September.

Interestingly, there were some big statements made at the weekend in the opening round of the Six Nations competition.

After defeating the All Blacks in November, Ireland coach Joe Schmidt admitted his side needed a serious reality check after the 20-32 loss to England in Dublin.

They never saw it coming, certainly not to this scale, but it was a good gauge to ponder their next move after they were physically bullied by Eddie Jones’ men.

Forgotten how to lose

Our RWC Pool D opponent Wales made a stunning fightback after trailing 0-16 at halftime to beat France 24-19 in Paris.

The result gave Warren Gatland’s men their 10th successive win for the first time since 1999.

Gatland said the difference between the two teams is ‘we’ve become a side that’s probably forgotten how to lose and can dig deep’ in trying circumstance.

Wales have been our opponent for the last three RWC, winning two out of the three.

We scored a memorable 38-34 win in France in 2007 and when we were fancying a repeat, Gatland’s men humiliated us 66-0 four years later in New Zealand. At the 2015 RWC, the John McKee-coached side put up a fight, but Gatland’s men won again 23-13.

We need to beat either Australia or Wales or both, barring upsets against Georgia and Uruguay, to qualify for the Cup quarter final.

We need to be in the quarterfinal in 2019 if we are to justify our eighth placing in the world of rugby.

The November tour and the win over France has given us the momentum, but it’s time to start afresh building up to the RWC.

This means that members of the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad must prepare themselves physically, mentally and spiritually before they march into camp for the Pacific Nations Cup later this year.

The PNC will be played from July 27 to August 1 involving Japan, Canada, and the USA joining Tonga, Fiji and Samoa. Fiji’s opening game is against Japan in Tokyo. The home and away test against the New Zealand Maori will be our final hit-out before the RWC.

We need to think positive and always work hard. Time is on our side to make it happen in Japan.

 

Feedback: oseab@fijisun.com.fj




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