Contrasting styles

Manoa Matairavula, Nadi | Saturday, June 17, 2017
Today's rugby Test between the Flying Fijians and the Azzurri is a match of contrasting styles.
Timoci Nagusa prepares to pass during the Flying Fijians training at the ANZ stadium. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU
Timoci Nagusa prepares to pass during the Flying Fijians training at the ANZ stadium. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

I believe the Fijians will play a more expansive brand of rugby, using the width and playing it on the edges and combining with the off-loads, flamboyancy and powerful running.

The Azzurri, I believe, more measured, will be keeping it at close quarters around the fringes, and will try to control the pace and tempo of the game.

They will most likely try to control the game with their rucking and mauling, build seven plus phases to build pressure and starve and frustrate the Fijians of possession.

And as Mike Catt had pointed out, they will play to that structure to avoid playing it loose.

On the other hand the Fiji boys will need to make this more about themselves than worry about the Italians.

They need to focus more on playing their own game and playing it well.

We are all familiar with our weaponry in the backline. But their success is going to require a dominant performance from our tight fight, their ability to provide first class service to the halves, and their ability to operate beyond the gain line and recycle possession quickly to move the ball out wide.

I believe the quick recycling of possession is going to depend on how efficient our rucking game is, the ability of our brutal machine upfront being able to clean out well in the tackle ball area.

And as our former Flying Fijians' captain Ro Alifereti Doviverata had mentioned, they need to be patient in attack.

Hold on to possession for seven plus phases and build pressure and eventually the gaps will open and the points will come.

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