Editorial comment – Power to the off-loads

Paula Dranisinukula leads the sevens side during one of their training runs. Picture: FT FILE

NATIONAL sevens rugby skipper and forward Paula Dranisinukula made an interesting observation yesterday.

Not that it isn’t a well-known one though!

He highlighted our off-loading game, marking it down as a strength that isn’t easy to counter at the highest level of the game.

He’s got a point.

Perhaps it isn’t easy to counter because of our unorthodox style.

There is a certain level of expectation on our side every time we run on to the field.

It places us on a very high pedestal.

It can be good and bad as well.

On one end of the spectrum, there is pressure on us to perform and live up to this expectation.

Then there is the bit about motivation to lift our game because of this expectation.

The associated stress to perform can be nerve-racking as well for rookies.

For our seasoned campaigners, it could even be the catalyst for a burst in energy and adrenalin.

The observation comes as we continue preparations for the next leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series in London on May 25-26 and in Paris, France, a week later.

The national skipper, however, knows it will take much more than just our off-loads to assist us on the field.

That’s why he has mentioned discipline.

The 29-year-old soldier from the chiefly village of Navuniivi, Navitilevu in Ra, believes discipline is crucial.

“If we want to win the game in that last minute, we have to get things right,” he said.

It’s a factor that national coach Gareth Baber obviously will be honing in the lead-up to the London 7s.

That’s when we should be disciplined enough to minimise mistakes, stick to our game plan, stay composed under pressure, and vary our game to suit the run of play.

It means cutting out infringements that could result in yellow or red cards, and being disciplined enough to stay focused under great pressure, reading the game as it develops.

For our off-loading game to be effective means winning possession, and re-cycling it effectively, while working our defensive and attacking shapes well.

Now more than ever, fans will be hoping to see more enthusiasm and commitment from the team.

There are no more minnows in the competition.

The Americans under Mike Friday have shown that you need to be strategic in your campaign to have a very strong footing towards the winner’s pedestal.

They have shown that there is no room for complacency, and there can be no guarantees in the series.

Our challenge though is to facilitate our strength, maintain that channel that provides impetus to our off-loading game, and be disciplined throughout.

We must believe we can topple the best in the business.

That starts right here at home, on the training ground.

Go Fiji, go.

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