Analysis

First Five Eight Our Achilles Building Up To 2023 World Cup France

The lack of depth in this pivotal position is our Archilles.
16 Nov 2021 15:23
First Five Eight Our Achilles Building Up To 2023 World Cup France

After the last World Cup in Japan I had suggested that we should find a replacement for first five eighth Ben Volavola for the next World Cup.

Volavola’s lack luster performance yesterday against Wales in Cardiff reinforced that suggestion.

He was responsible for Wales’ two last converted tries that gave the hosts a respectable scoreline in a match that could have gone either way.

First he gave away a try when he failed to dive over the ball near their dead ball line when the score was tight 24-23 with Wales slightly ahead. Whether it was lack of awareness or only plain sloppiness it was inexcusable at this international level.

Then he kicked a speculator and gave the ball into the hands of the opposition who capitalized on it to score the last try and blew the score line to 38-23. It was the wrong option.

The Flying Fijians were behind 32-23 and could have scored the last try if they had kept the ball.

But Volavola kicked it away. We all know that the Flying Fijians are dangerous with the ball in hand. If he kicked it into open space, then it might have turned out profitable like the Welsh did.

But he didn’t and the result was disastrous.

Volavola played for the full 80 minutes. Maybe he was suffering from fatigue. If he was, why wasn’t he substituted?  Does it mean they do not have another specialist first five eighth?

If that’s the case it’s a worrying situation. Can they find one before 2023?

They would have to do it now otherwise it would be too late to allow the player to build experience and big match temperament.

The lack of depth in this pivotal position is our Archilles.

He is the playmaker, confident and able to read the game and direct play with right decisions even under extreme pressure.

It was an epic test. Even with 13- men the Flying Fijians stayed in the hunt and could have pulled off a sensational victory without the two tries handed to the Welsh by Volavola.

Feedback: nemani.delaibatiki@fijisun.com.fj

 

 



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