Opinion

Analysis: Curse Of The Rolling Maul

In the remaining games the Fijians must get their act together to have a hope of beating Wales. In fact, to get to the quarterfinals they must win all their remaining games. If you like, this was a game of two halves.
22 Sep 2019 11:00
Analysis: Curse Of The Rolling Maul
TRY TIME... Fiji Airways Flying Fijians inside centre Waisea Nayacalevu scores the team’s second try against the Wallabies during their Rugby World Cup match opener in the Sapporo Dome, Sapporo, Japan, on September 21, 2019. Fiji lost 21-39. Also last night, France beat Argentina 23-21. Photo: Bruce Southwick/ZoomFiji

The rolling maul was the curse over the Flying Fijians yesterday at Sapporo, Japan. It was their Achilles heel. It set the platform for a Wallabies comeback after the Fijians led for 60 minutes.

For the rest of the game the Wallabies gained ascendancy and imposed their will on the game. Fiji’s weaknesses were exposed by the Tongans in Auckland in the Pasifika Test.

High on the list was the rolling maul. It was obvious the Fijians had no answer or solution to counter it.

Other weaknesses:

1) Dropped balls – There were crucial try scoring opportunities lost

2) Unforced errors – In a quality opposition like Australia the Fijians could not afford those mistakes,

3) Fitness – The body language showed that the Fijians had run out of wind going into the last 20 minutes. The Australians, with their superior fitness spotted the chink in the Fijian armour and capitalised on it.

4) Pivot Ben Volavola – He was fine in the first half when the Fijians had the upper hand. But when they came under the pump in the second half the Fijians lost their cohesion. They lost direction and purpose.

In times like this the teams usually look to their first five, number eight, halfback and fullback to help salvage the situation.

5) Giving away possession – When you know that the opposition are lethal inside your 25, you ensure that you keep the ball in their territory. When you kick, make sure the ball goes out or lands deep close to their scoring line and the chase must be good.

When you give away possession and allow them to set up their offensive you are asking for trouble. The games stats showed the Fijians spent a long time tackling. It’s energy sapping and requires a lot of stamina and strength.

But then what happened to passing the ball and using our highly rated back line to show their wares. In the few opportunities they had they scored tries.

In the remaining games the Fijians must get their act together to have a hope of beating Wales.

In fact, to get to the quarterfinals they must win all their remaining games. If you like, this was a game of two halves.

The Fijians had a dream start by showing what they are capable of achieving when they had the ball. The Flying Fijians had the Wallabies against the rope in the first 16 minutes. They kept the Aussies on edge and wondering

Would you have believed it? Fiji leading 14-12 at halftime. We have to keep believing. Yato is a big loss but the boys have to step up. Fix our scrums, maul and defence and we are home. We are making a lot of tackles and tiring but visions of victory are appearing through the sky. The Wallabies are having squeaky bums but will come back hard in last 20 minutes.

But we are halfway there!

Edited by Naisa Koroi

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj




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