An unenviable task

Fred Wesley | Monday, May 22, 2017
It is tough trying to get over the fact that we weren't good enough to get through to the Cup quarter-finals at the London 7s yesterday morning.

It is tough accepting the fact that we bombed out early.

Any result after that isn't going to be good enough for fans who are accustomed to seeing us getting through to the Cup quarters.

In fact we seem to believe we have a right to be in the Cup finals every tournament.

That is not a good thing though.

At times like this, when we hit rock bottom, we will then realise that we are just humans after all.

Every team in World Rugby's sevens series is better prepared these days.

There are no longer any minnows.

The game has taken off in leaps and bounds.

Teams have moved on strategically, employing experts for almost every facet of the game, from defence to kicking.

There are dieticians who look after meal plans, fitness experts who look after that aspect of the game, defence coaches who look after defensive structures and attack coaches who ensure attacking shapes vary according to the run of the play on game day.

Kicking coaches look after this very important part of the game and some teams have analysts who go through matches, identifying loopholes, sometimes in real time, and key players in opposition sides.

Medical experts keenly follow the run of play to ensure injuries are attended to as soon as possible and players fixed to be ready for the next tournament.

It is all part of the modern game.

In the face of that stands our proud record.

The issue is whether we are doing enough to protect that, and the popularity of the game in Fiji.

Are we doing enough to protect our fan base and the support of the sponsors?

National coach Gareth Baber has his work cut out.

He must get down to the business of identifying what went wrong in our 2017 campaign.

He must work out a plan to ensure we are ready for the World Cup and the start of the new series.

It is clear that we have the calibre of players who can turn heads and win us titles.

Baber has to inspire them to get past our poor effort this season, and find the desire to change things in the new season.

He has the hot seat and the unenviable task of protecting our brand, our history and our love for the sport.

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