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Fiji 7s lacked punch

Opinions / Analysis

FIJI Airways Men's 7s side failed miserably at the Emirates Airlines Dubai Sevens.

And worse was the way they performed.

They missed out on the Cup quarterfinals for the first time in the 21-year history of the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series.

Obviously, the team lacked the punch and were far short on creativity and style.

The team didn’t live up to the billing as the defending series champions.

Besides, the sad tilt of the fact is they lacked discipline, the one area that needs serious redress.

Coach Gareth Baber’s repeated calls to minimize giving away penalties and avoid getting cards seems to fall on deaf ears.

A total of 6 yellow cards were flashed in the four games the team played, with Sevuloni Mocenacagi, Vilimoni Botitu, Kavekini Tabu, Waisea Nacuqu, Meli Derenalagi and Josua Vakurunabili all being sin binned.

The players need to get off the wild horse’ and play smart if they’re to avert the likelihood of getting beat or playing catch-up rugby.

It’s their actions that didn’t do the team any good in pool games, which eventually led up to the elimination on aggregate, despite the France win.

If anything, the team didn’t look impressive with their narrow 27- 24, win against Japan who made a game by taking Fijians to the wire in the opening game

And instead of bringing out the best in against Argentina, they simply failed to spark the amber flakes.

This one game tested Fiji’s mettle and on the back of Vilimoni Botitu sendoff, Argentines’ upped their tempo to grab the 24-21 win. The defeat was also Fiji's first in the pool stages in Dubai since losing to England nine years ago.

Fiji's 9th place finish was far-fetched, and the 40-17 Canada win didn’t impress the game’s fervent either, who had expected a better finish.

The Dubai Sevens performance serves a hard lesson that the team just can’t rest on its laurels.

They must also be mindful of the fact the game of sevens is ever evolving.

And that every team on the circuit is capable of beating the other in any tournament and on any given day.

It is a fair admission that Fiji has been exposed many times beyond pool stages, but the opening of the Dubai Sevens was their worse.

A team that is blessed with immense talent needs to put teamwork and belief as their focal point and look to the Cape Town Sevens and beyond with lot more optimism.

As we inch towards the 2020 Olympics by the event, we must take every tournament seriously, win and maintain the consistency as Japan awaits.

It is, however, worth mentioning that Fiji is the reigning Olympic Sevens champions, which makes Fijians still have all the faith in the team.

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