The selection of veteran utility back Seremaia Bai was a certain disaster in the way he handled a pivotal role in the 12-55 loss to Australia Sunday afternoon (this morning Fiji Time).
After the way he kicked a bad pass from promising flyhalf Waisea Luveniyali revealed his true character as a field general assigned with the honourable responsibility to lead Fiji against second ranked Australia in the world rugby order.
Maybe Bai felt slighted at being relegated to inside centre and cramped the style of the promising Luveniyali to stay inside his shell and did not display the commanding role he played against Tonga in his debut for the country in Nadi during the Pacific Nations’ Cup.
Luveniyali’s skills were also minimized with most of the kicking duties for line and goal kicks given to the skipper because he was calling the shots.
The management need to make sure that a skipper’s role which is exemplified by Mosese Rauluni commanded the respect of the rest of the players and was a mentoring, covering role who allowed new players like Luveniyali the space and boost needed to make him comfortable as soon as possible to bring out the best in him.
The last passage of play for the Fijians which resulted in a try by left winger Isoa Neivua with the help of a lot of leg power from fullback Norman Ligairi showed the potential we have as one of the best attacking players making the try look so simple against one of the best defenses in the world.
It is time that the management showed some more patience in players like Luveniyali, centre Maleli Kunavore and should have allowed them at least another 10 minutes in the second half to prove themselves.
Maybe they were vulnerable at times during the first quarter and most of the first half but by the way they gathered their wits about them and drove in for that final try erased a lot of the initial errors they committed earlier and would have been biting at the chomps to come and make up for those initial jitters in the second half.
But the game is over and we need to regroup and focus on the Wales encounter if we want to progress in the tournament.
It has been very cute for the management and players to bring out the natural beauty and the laid back nature of our beautiful islands in the South Seas in the media at the pre-tournament interviews but we have to take to another level.
Not only is the Fiji group isolated and laid back the inhabitants have evolved through centuries of adventure and daring warfare that would chill the blood of the nations when unraveled.
The Fijians have the natural ability and cunning to run into the fray with great skill and creativity to win wars and dare the enemies with unbending resolve and courage.
That is our God given trait to attack on our feet and use unorthodox ploys to win.
Unless we use them we might as well return to Fiji and continue to import Australian and Kiwi expertise to teach us the game of rugby.
But if we dare to believe in ourselves and believe we have the best athletes in the world when it comes to running at pace using our best asset in attack then we better use it against Wales or die trying.
The team experienced it against Australia A at the National Stadium in Suva in the final match of the Pacific Nations Cup and because of the creative juices and energy released from attacks from free kicks from their own 22 metre line sustained their strength and energy throughout the 80 minutes of the match.
The Tongans showed their strength and incisive forward play matching the mighty Springboks in their 25-30 loss on Saturday but that is Tongan.
They are more powerfully built and have the strength in the forwards to mix it up with the better conditioned South Africans.
Fijians are more lankier and faster than the Tongans and need to use those natural giftings to the maximum to counter the more better resourced and financed Welsh.
Fiji would be proud of our team if we played our hearts out in what we are good at than trying to imitate other nations in what they are good at.
Lets go!!! Take the ball and run at those Welsh with the God given strength and speed within you.
You are the best attacking players with ball in hand in the tournament.
Stop kicking and show them what you got.