Fiji got their fighting spirit back in their 0-49 thrashing against Australia in their one-off test on Saturday and coach Ilivasi Tabua and men need to be commended for putting on a better display.
But at the same time Fiji needed to field its best team on Subiaco Oval in Perth if we are serious about attracting more tests against quality sides like Australia; and moreover get a reality check before Fiji faces the top seeded side in their Pool C encounter on 23 September in Montpellier for the Rugby World Cup.
Also, Fiji needs to take heart with the sudden burst of energy by the more adept scrummaging by Henry Qiodravu and Graham Dewes in the front row; the defence and attacking skills of Apolosi Satala on the side of the scrum and the control in the middle by halfback Moses Rauluni.
The scrums were steadier against Australia but the lineout still needs more work with their timing in the throw-ins and takes by the jumpers (Look like the forwards had no other option other than Ifereimi Rawaqa).
Rauluni led the charge in winning the crumbs from Australian loose balls and loosies Satala, Alifereti Doviverata and Akapusi Qera played well in the contact areas.
There was too muck kicking away of limited possession we had which made it look really ironic that Fijians who are the best ball carriers in the world on the sevens field could not translate it into the full code . . . you may say.
But then again unless there is some structure and offensive plays devised each time we get the ball during kick offs, lineouts, scrums and rucking; which should be developed during practice, the possession Fiji wins will not be utilized fully.
Without any prepared moves which creative thinkers should be tinkering into and help coaches come up with some winning plays; that is what will ultimately happen; Fiji gains possession at kickoffs and lineouts and then simple; kick it away.
Australia’s defence was so tight; the Fiji team has no way of breaking or unlocking them with aimless running; unless Fiji uses their creative juices to study those defences; use some diversion to confuse them and attack them when they are bristling with confidence; until we come up with these, Fiji still has a long way to go.
Teams like Australia and New Zealand have devised plays that each player knows exactly what to do when there is a kickoff or lineout and the five eighth or inside centre makes the call for that certain play.
There’s no hanky-pankying around when they get the ball during the play as they move in to execute it.
Well . . . with a lot of practice; they have honed in those moves to perfection that it is like drinking a cuppa water.
As they gain yardage and score tries from those moves; the players gain confidence and realign those plays to work for them or re-organise defences and offences after assessing the opposition as the game progresses.
If Fiji has not been able to improve on the basics like scrummaging and lineouts; we become easy beats for them and it is a waste of time playing with Fiji because it doesn’t challenge them to improve their game.
Without doubt Fiji have the best talent in the world with our running, evasiveness and built; ball in hand but without any structure in the offensive plays and defence; Fiji will continue to be easy beats for these teams.
They are not better than Fiji; but a lot wiser and knowledgeable; having studied Fiji’s weaknesses they know exactly where to attack Fiji and utilize those weaknesses to their advantage.
Combined with having their own plays in place, New Zealand and Australia would rather play their equals in France, England and South Africa to be challenged into a good game and gain something out of it.
Fijian winger Lote Tuqiri scored two outstanding tries out of the eight tries the Australians scored, coming in after a one month layoff and looks sharper after the break.
Half-time score: Australia 30-0 Fiji.
Fiji: 15 Marika Vakacegu, 14 Mosese Luveitasau, 13 Vereniki Goneva, 12 Gabiriele Lovobalavu, 11 Isoa Neivua, 10 Jack Prasad, 9 Moses Rauluni, 8 Alifereti Doviverata (captain), 7 Akapusi Qera, 6 Apolosi Satala, 5 Kele Leawere, 4 Ifereimi Rawaqa, 3 Henry Qiodravu, 2 Sunia Koto, 1 Graham Dewes.
Replacements: 16 Bill Gadolo, 17 Apisai Turukawa, 18 Wame Lewaravu, 19 Tomasi Soqeta, 20 Vitori Buatava, 21 Vesi Rauluni, 22 Taniela Rawaqa.
Wallabies: 15 Julian Huxley, 14 Drew Mitchell, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Scott Staniforth, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Stephen Larkham, 9 George Gregan (vice-captain), 8 David Lyons, 7 Phil Waugh (captain), 6 Mark Chisholm, 5 Dan Vickerman, 4 James Horwill, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Adam Freier, 1 Matt Dunning.
Replacements: 16 Stephen Moore, 17 Benn Robinson, 18 Stephen Hoiles, 19 George Smith, 20 Sam Cordingley, 21 Sam Norton-Knight, 22 Stirling Mortlock
Date: Saturday, 9 June
Venue: Subiaco Oval, Perth
Kick-off: 10.05pm (Fiji Time)
Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)
Touch judges: Paul Honiss (New Zealand), Mark Lawrence (Scotland)
Television match official: Jonathon White (New Zealand)
Assessor: Andrew Cole (Australia)