Flair, excitement and pace

Fred Wesley | Saturday, June 10, 2017
When the whistle sounds for the end of this afternoon's Test against the Australian Wallabies, fans are hopeful it will signal positive things for the Flying Fijians.

On paper, the Wallabies are expected to head in with the upper hand.

They have the benefit of resources, expertise in all facets of the game, and a list of super-stars to fall back on.

When exposure is raised though, Flying Fijians coach John McKee has a core group of men who have been exposed to the highest levels of the game in Europe.

We actually held up the Wallabies scrum at the last Rugby World Cup and that should also stand for something as we gear up for this massive challenge before us today.

That effort stirred the soul, and inched out a great sense of patriotism. It inched out belief in our team and actually convinced many fans that we finally had come of age in as far as the set pieces were concerned.

No more could we be shrugged aside as a team with just flair, excitement and pace, but without a structure to get that all important possession.

No longer could we be cast aside as just another one of the teams that could be easily beaten because we lacked depth upfront.

Whether we label our challenge in the trenches as one to be carried on the shoulders of an exciting new generation of forwards will not take away the fact that history has not been kind on us.

McKee reckons we have the muscle and the confidence to topple a tier one nation.

There is optimism in the lead up to today's clash.

It is our athleticism that he reckons could be a difference upfront.

As he pointed out in a recent interview with rugby.com.au, if players got in the wider channels of the game, it doesn't matter what number they've got on their back.

"We've got prop forwards, who've got footwork and can offload as well as some of our backs," he remarked.

Then consider the inclusion of new defence coach, former Super Rugby and National Rugby League player, Peter Ryan into the mix, and you've got a special package set for delivery.

While acknowledging the attacking form of the side, Ryan adds a new dimension to our defensive efforts.

As skipper Akapusi Qera told rugby.com.au, the side will be taking inspiration from the 2011 Manu Samoa team that beat the Wallabies on their home ground.

It is a massive challenge.

How we fare today could well be determined by how much we want this game, and by how well we can control our set-pieces.

The onus is on the side though to believe in itself and stick to our game-plan.

Go Fiji, go.

Home | Top