Editorial comment – Pulling out all stops in Vancouver

Coach Gareth Baber and captain Kalione Nasoko were presented with a gift from the Canada Fijian Community. Photo: HSBC Canada Sevens

THE weather in Canada this weekend is expected to be cold.

However, following our early exit at the Las Vegas 7s last weekend, the extreme cold isn’t going to be the only thing on the minds of our players this weekend.

In fact, the cold may even have an impact on how teams fare at the Vancouver 7s starting tomorrow.

For starters, national coach Gareth Baber has been forced to take our preparations indoors.

That’s about the best way to get to the bottom of what went wrong in Vegas.

In a sense, it has been pretty good for the team.

It will be interesting though to see how we do fare when we take the game outside under freezing temperatures.

Despite the extreme cold weather, Baber is content we have been able to kick off the cobwebs that may have stuck on after Vegas.

They’ve lapped up the opportunity to train in an “indoor bubble” he said.

“That’s what they call it here,” Baber said.

“That has helped us to get the quality of sessions we need, but for our boys, they got bigger things to worry about than the weather.

“They got determination to put things right and show everybody back in Fiji what it means for them to play at this level. As I’ve said we’re disappointed with our performance last week but the weather isn’t going to stop us from doing what we are doing now.”

Strong words indeed from the coach.

Vegas was an episode die-hard fans will be hoping to forget real quick.

We just did not get it right at the Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas.

Whether our game plan for the narrow ground wasn’t effective, or whether our team just didn’t find their rhythm, we stared at a blank wall that inched out many questions post-Vegas.

We head into a standard size Vancouver pitch that should be just about ideal for our brand of rugby this weekend.

With five more tournaments left in the series, we still have an opportunity to make amends.

Our challenge starts this weekend.

We realise we have injuries.

But that’s the challenge Baber has before him.

How he turns this campaign around will determine how we fare this season.

He has the hot seat.

He is our national coach.

He has the unenviable task of making things happen with what we have.

That means he must motivate our men to reach out for their best effort this weekend.

We have stared at many blank walls before, and history has shown that when we have our backs to the wall, we have come off with some amazing results.

That’s when we turn on the magic, and mesmerise the opposition.

The onus is on our men to rediscover the passion that won us Hamilton and Capetown.

Words can be very powerful when the chips are down.

Baber must pull out all stops and plot effective game plans against Kenya, Samoa and Canada this weekend.

Fijian fans can be very demanding.

We also have great pride in our side and the players who don the white jersey with the coconut tree emblem on the left chest.

Whatever happens though, we should support our team, get behind them and motivate them to live their dreams this weekend.

Go Fiji, go.

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