New Zealand Nadi Legends and Nadi Legends in a group picture after the inaugural Joe Lutumailagi Cup game in Nadi yesterday. NZ Nadi won 2-1.

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Gollings calls final 'shame', rates players fantastic

Opinions / Analysis

FIJI Airways Men’s national team coach Ben Gollings called it shame following the team’s final loss to Argentina in the Canada Sevens.

Fiji lost 29-10 to Argentina, who won their first title in the World Rugby Sevens Series since 2009.

Gollings didn’t shy away from holding himself to account, albeit being faultless up to the final.

The hard truth about the man is he played the game in the very league, the IRB Sevens, rebranded to HSBC World Rugby Sevens, where he became the first rugby sevens player to score over 2,652 points in his career.

And he is on point when he owns up shame because he has won games to championships and knows the feeling about giving it all and losing it, the summation takes courage to speak the truth.

“We were faultless but it’s a shame that we kind of didn’t control the game as we could’ve done.”

“There were few opportunities that we missed that we could’ve used and that would’ve been the difference in the end.”

Often-times, coaches will find some fancy explanations, from injuries, harsh calls, bad bounce, if you will, fitness and or fatigue but for Gollings, it comes naturally.

Gollings knows his team, that is made up with, the plethora of talented players, including the double Olympic gold medalist Jerry Tuwai and Josua Vakurunabili and Waisea Nacuqu.

And having won his first tournament in Singapore Sevens a week on, the learned former England star was oozing with confidence coming to Vancouver Sevens.

After the breathtaking pool games, quarter and semi final wins with good defensive play, instinctive and intuitive support play, slick running and clinical finishing, the team sporadically moved up field and looked to the try-line in the final game, otherwise seemed hunkered down in its zone for most of the game.

And that’s what had Gollings sounded ashamed, otherwise he called the 2 week hiatus on the trip as fantastic and as a good coach he just didn’t stop there but praised the worthy and acknowledged the shortfall.


He said the senior most players, Jerry Tuwai, Josua Vakurunabili and Waisea Nacuqu had stood up and have been leaders on and off the field and that really helps develop the players that are coming through the roster.

Gollings held captain Tevita Daugunu high, said he had been fantastic for two weeks.


And the new players, including Vuiviawa Naduvalo who never played major tournament before, he nearly scored 20 tries, so overall players have been absolutely fantastic, they raised the occasion brilliantly.


Gollings praised the Fijian fans world over for being behind the team, admitting they fell short of their expectations.

“The passion and support for Fiji around the world is brilliant and there is expectation is nothing than the win but at the same time it’s about that keeps us on our toes and we want to live up to that expectation and that’s a challenge to us and so it’s not an unrealistic expectation without winning a tournament we have proved that”.

And during the farewell function organized by Canadian Fijians and sevens supporters, the team was praised for their humbleness.

Guest of honour, Fiji’s honorary consul to Canada Bobby Naicker, spoke about the goodness of the team.

“I’ve always been a proud Fijian. I’ve never been prouder after having been with this family, the team, for over a week,” Naicker said.

“It is their humbleness that is unequal, they take nothing for granted, but appreciate little things, from a handshake, bula, hug to gifts”.

Naicker said the team works and plays hard for the nation.

“When they play, the whole world appreciates their talent.

“And they don’t just participate, they win, they won gold in Singapore and Silver in Vancouver and they’re the back-to-back Olympic Game gold medalist.

“These are our ambassadors. They deserve our respect.”

The team sang hymns for the supporters and signed autographs.

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