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The fatigue factor

Opinions / Analysis

THERE were two constants over two weekends of scintillating sevens rugby.


First the joyous one for the thousands and the other that had many silenced for the next four years.

The Fiji 7s brave-hearts created history and Fijians world over sang and celebrated the nations unprecedented fourth consecutive Hong Kong Sevens title.

And last Sunday, at Gold Coast, our gladiators, despite giving their all faltered to New Zealand.

The all blacks perfectly executed game is what handcuffed the remarkable Fijians from winning its first Commonwealth Games 7s Gold.

Brilliant as the two numbers were up against, the radical change of tactics was the marked difference, and did it ever was a tactical triumph.

Legendary rugby commentator Keith Quinn couldn’t have summed it up any better during the epic 2007 Hong Kong Sevens semifinal clash between the two sides, that when Fiji meets New Zealand in rugby sevens the earth moves.

Did it ever move in-favor of New Zealand, who took the game to the Fijians, stuck in and played the mind game among other things to thwart Fiji control of the game.

Sevuloni Mocenacagi sin-bin was a clear case of the game plan.

Sam Dickson instigated it all and Mocenacagi retaliated and there on Fiji failed to be lit up.

Let’s be mindful that New Zealand took a pass on Hong Kong Sevens, fielded a second-string side and saved its marquees for the Commonwealth Games.

Every event as rugby experts have it, spring in new surprises and I bet, had all blacks been an equal strength participant in Hong Kong, they wouldn’t have had a glimpse of the gold in Gold Coast.

It is just that.

Fiji may not have won the gold, but they certainly won the hearts of the nation and Fijians around the globe.

Quinn once said on the KeithQuinn blog that ‘rugby is not for faint hearts, it’s a physical and a contact sport’.

“The sport extracts the best out of the players yet leaves one battered and bruised game in and out”.

Fatigue, he wrote, wears down athletes more than anything else.

The Gareth Baber’s men appeared fatigued, no arguments there.

And how conditioned they maybe, the back to back physical torment got the better of the players.

The narrow wins over Wales and the semifinal against South Africa exemplified this factor.

With Commonwealth Games a thing of the past and Hong Kong to savor, the Jerry Tuwai side look to the Singapore Sevens with keen interest.

Trailing series leaders, South Africa with just three points, the team needs to up its game and win its fourth championship and take the lead on the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series leaders board.

Yes, we can.

 

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