End the winless run

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam, Nadawa, Nasinu | Saturday, February 3, 2018
If there's anything at stake this week in Hamilton, it has to do with ending our winless cup tournament win since the sweet victory in Happy Valley. Letters flooded The Fiji Times this week about Fiji's dismal outing in Sydney and calling upon Baber to step down. Likewise, comments poured on social media about how the ranking of our 7s team was going down since the Welshman took charge. Fans are losing their patience, especially when the Commonwealth Games and RWC 7s are around the corner.
Mesulame Kunavula (centre) trains alongside Paula Dranisinukula (left) and Jerry Tuwai at the Marist Rugby Club grounds in Hamilton, New Zealand yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH
Mesulame Kunavula (centre) trains alongside Paula Dranisinukula (left) and Jerry Tuwai at the Marist Rugby Club grounds in Hamilton, New Zealand yesterday. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

Fiji's run of defeats is becoming part of our lives and we hardly see the magic that teams of the past conjured. In Sydney, without possession, we looked like children running around the park not knowing what to do.

Wellington 7s last year was Gareth Baber's first tournament in charge of the Olympics champions and a lot was on Baber's plate, especially when we lost in Dubai to Africa and finished fifth in Cape Town and Fiji was pooled with series leader South Africa in pool B. Our boys beat Australia 26-12 in the opening match and then outclassed an inexperienced Japanese team, running in eight tries and coming out top 56-0. Our strength was tested against a well-oiled African machine and we gave up and ended getting thrashed 31-12. In the Cup quarters, the boys lived up to expectations and beat the hosts in an entertaining affair 26-10. Scotland was next in the semis and our boys braved the Scottish onslaught to emerge winners.

The final was a repeat of our last pool match. When Stallions speed merchant Joeli Lutumailagi left African gasman Senatla gasping for air, fans thought that the tide had changed in our favour, only to be disappointed at the end as the Blitzbokke scored four scintillating tries to win their second title on the WRSS. Our boys face Wales, Russia and Australia in pool match and we could face USA in the cup quarters again. Media outlets have reported that the team has been working hard to rectify the weaknesses from last week. Only time will tell how much effort was put in. On the other hand, stylish playmaker Ravouvou and robust forward Cakaubalavu jetted out of the country to replace Nacuqu and Daveta.

As the Hamilton 7s kick-off today, I wish our 7s team all the best. I am pleading with our boys to work hard and end our winless run. Boys and Mr Baber, we are with you.

Win or lose, you are number 1, team Fiji!

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