A beauty!

Fred Wesley | Saturday, May 20, 2017
What a beauty! Fijian fans had a feast of Super Rugby action last night at the Laucala bowl in Suva.

It was difficult to shrug off the positive impression cast on the packed National Stadium by the Chiefs and the Crusaders.

The Crusaders took out the game 31-24, and sure, they remain unbeaten in Super Rugby, but it has to be said that there were many lessons for us both as a nation and as rugby loving people.

Mother nature embraced the occasion, drawing in conditions that were conducive to inching out a classy and entertaining affair.

The setting was perfect. The lights, ground and teams were all part of what made it an amazing night.

When all things are said and done though, how can anyone ever get past the amazing physical and mental conditioning of players in the two sides?

Players like giant Crusaders secondrower Sam Whitelock were powerful. It was their endurance and ability to play the full game at such a high intensity that stood out.

They were physically and mentally tough. Tackles were rock solid, and players were doing the little things right, giving us a lesson in how the game should be played.

Yesterday should have shown us the standards we have to attain at domestic level if we are to be competitive at international level.

It showed us the need for superior fitness levels and the ability to stay composed under intense pressure, and maintain discipline.

It showed us the level of critical thinking that is now a key part of the game.

Players were running good lines, maintained good shapes in attack and defence, and were fit enough to keep a consistent pace for the duration of the game.

Defences were tight, yet the opposing halves were analytical, probing for openings and dictating play well.

Out of the field, the fans came out in numbers. They provided a sea of red, yellow and white.

They provided lung power for the two sides and collectively made last night another event to remember.

Hopefully they would have aided in setting up the chain of events we hope will see more games coming our way.

The challenge now is to translate this enthusiasm, numbers and excitement to our domestic and international matches.

Perhaps the key, going by last night's game, lies in making our game exciting.

That will mean lifting standards, and good marketing and profiling at every level of our competition.

Congratulations are in order for the Crusaders.

What a game! What a night!

Now it is time to get back into the London 7s and the Fiji FACT at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori.

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