Fiji needs more conditioning

Raiwaqa Colts attack against Marist at Albert Park in Suva. Photo: GREG TAYLOR.

If the temperature has something to do with the three straight losses that Fiji has encountered in this European tour, then count in another loss to Georgia on Saturday.

With most of the players from Fiji who have never encountered these freezing temperatures; their game will be off until they get used to it.

According to the Fiji Times, team manager Aseri Rokoura said the team has settled down in Tbilisi but were still feeling the cold.

“The boys are all good here in Georgia. It’s cold but not as cold as Dublin (Ireland),” Rokoura said in the Fiji Times.

According to World Weather Information Service, Dublin has a mean temperature of five degrees Celcius currently while Tbilisi is a little bit warmer (or should I say less cooler) around eight degrees.

For those of you who don’t have a clue what these temperatures mean, you would not know until you have been to some of these places and experienced it yourself.

For me personally; my body was shut down for a whole week in Victoria, Vancouver Island in December 1984 in freezing par zero degrees weather, unbearable to say the least (this was my first experience in these temperatures).

For those of us who have been to some of these places will be clued in on the realities these boys face, but not to be too sympathetic to the extreme, most of the line up against Ireland A for the Munster club stadium match have been playing overseas and would be akin to these conditions.

But moving on to Tbilisi; Fiji needs to be wary of what former Wallaby and Cherry Blossoms coach Eddie Jones said after their 25-22 win over Georgia last week.

“We were physically out-manned. They were better in the scrums and the line-outs but we still won so it is not a bad achievement,” Jones said after the Cherry Blossoms accounted for the Georgians in Tbilisi.

The Fiji Rugby Union needs to face up to the realities we are facing in the change in temperatures; change in conditions (maybe better as far as top quality facilities in the match ground and change rooms) and upper echelons of competition; the players have to be conditioned to these changes.

Otherwise, they would be still floundering with a sense of trying to cope with acclimatizing then thrown into a rugby paddock totally lost to the conditions; not to speak of the huge reception and attention of the 82,000 plus at Twickenham; plus all the media and lights that is included for an opener against England.

Now that the stiff opposition is past; Fiji need to settle down and try to win the last match in the tour.

Georgia moved a notch down this week in the IRB rankings from 16 to 17 after the loss to Japan while Fiji remained static at 14 even after the huge losses to England and Ireland A.

With all the hue and cry going on over the cheques paid to Jone Qovu, Sireli Bobo and Josh Matavesi not to join Fiji for the 2011 Rugby World Cup, Fiji needs to maintain some form of stability by playing a good game against Georgia.

Fiji won’t be figuring in with the competition of the top 12 teams fighting for better placings for the 2015 Rugby World Cup but we need to boost our own confidence by doing well in Tbilisi.

Otherwise, the Fiji team and the whole lot of officials that are traveling with the team are wasting time and resources manning the image and name of the long history of cherished memories of Fijian rugby.

FRB has high hopes for Fiji but reality is weighing heavy hedging for a Fiji loss by five points to Georgia.

Fiji 12-17 Georgia.

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Filed under Fiji tour, Opinion, Test

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