One down, two to go

Fred Wesley | Saturday, January 27, 2018
Fijian sevens legend Waisale Serevi hoped the national side would come out strongly in the opening minutes of its match against Samoa at the Sydney 7s.
Fred Wesley. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU
Fred Wesley. Picture: ELIKI NUKUTABU

He actually made a comment the other day about the importance of dominance in the opening seven minutes of our games.

He believes it is a strategy that could stand Fiji in good stead in Sydney this weekend.

The key to winning in Sydney is in the first seven minutes of the game, he said.

He pointed out that there was a great need to embrace discipline, stay focused and to play as a unit in those opening minutes.

There was a need for planning and proper usage of seconds and minutes in the first spell.

Last night Gareth Baber and the team came off with a slow start in the first spell against Samoa.

It certainly wasn't going to be a stroll in the park so to speak.

We were in the pool of death afterall, alongside the Sir Gordon Tietjens coached Samoa and New Zealand, with the unpredictable Russia completing our pool.

Fiji led Samoa at half time 14-5.

Jerry Tuwai and his men gained ascendency in the second spell, ending the game with a 31-5 victory.

The win was welcomed by fans.

There were glimpses of brilliance in the national side.

However there were also dashes of concern.

We came out strongly in the aerial contests at the restarts, we were stable in the scrums and lineouts, and we had a great attacking shape.

Our inability though to keep our defensive shape and read the Samoan attacking set piece which led to their try in the first spell would definitely be an issue Baber could pick on.

Today we face the might of Russia and New Zealand.

Serevi did mention something about natural talent and team work.

"We have seen that a lot of teams we lose to… they are not individual athletes. They don't have our steps. They don't have our strengths and they don't have our speed, but they complement each other. They play as a team. That's what we need to do," Serevi said.

Hopefully that will be the catalyst for positive things today for us.

While there were many heroes for the national side last night, it was exciting to see Amenoni Nasilasila displaying feats of magic when in possession.

Our tackles were connecting and towards the pressure cooker end of the clash, our defensive shape was effective.

The challenge though is for our team to stay focused today.

Fans will be hoping Baber injects confidence into the side and we psyche ourselves up for today's games.

There certainly were a lot of positive things in yesterday's first outing.

Go Fiji, go.

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