Editorial comment – Moving on
2 December, 2018, 12:03 pm
Eventually it wasn’t to be for the national sevens side at the Dubai 7s last night.
By now, the harsh reality that the start of our campaign in the World Rugby Sevens Series has come undone is being accepted.
Obviously some fans will find it difficult to comprehend the fact that we bombed out in the Cup quarter-finals to the US.
We may wonder about what could have been.
We may wonder about options we took or should have taken.
We may wonder about a lot of other eventualities.
At the end of the day though, defeat has to be accepted.
It has to sink in quickly.
We must get over this period and prepare for the next part of this leg of the series, next week in South Africa.
Yesterday’s 14-24 loss to the US was not what fans expected.
But to advance and improve, we must embrace this defeat, even if it is tough, and do what must be done to correct our mistakes from this weekend.
We were actually flashy against France.
We were on fire.
Our attacks were accurate.
Our support play was strong.
Our defensive shape was very good.
We did everything right.
We ran beautiful lines and we covered gaps in defence.
Against Scotland though, the writing was on the wall.
We appeared rattled by their in-your-face defence.
Our attacks were nullified by a defence that was focused and quick.
Our defence was stretched to the limit by a Scottish side that played the numbers game to near perfection.
But when it mattered, we held on strong in the end.
We had staying power.
That was a positive.
It was actually pleasing to see how we lifted our game when the chips appeared to be down for us.
It mattered in the end.
We won that game.
The US, however, tested us.
US coach Mike Friday said some things at the break that should prick our attention.
He spoke about accepting the fact that tries would be scored against them.
He embraced the fact that we could virtually score from anywhere on the field, and at any time.
But it was his directive to work on possession when they had it, that should immediately attract our interest.
It falls back on denying our team possession.
Coaches who were watching that game would have obviously picked up on that line.
It does force Gareth Baber to come up with a plan that embraces that fact.
Baber should now feel the pressure if he hasn’t already done so.
Our team has our support.
The challenge though is on Baber to get them focused on winning games in this highly competitive series.
Go Fiji, go.