The second loss 13-28 of the national team to Australia on Thursday morning (Wednesday afternoon in Cardiff, Wales) has opened up discussions on radio talk back shows in the vernacular ruing the missed opportunities.
Heard on Viti FM last night was the continual mention of the lack of fresh legs of the substitutions off the bench which could have added impetus to the team after crucial segments in the second half when Fiji was down 13-25.
“We could have added some fresh players especially in midfield where Lovobalavu and Goneva looked tired out (in the iTaukei language),” a Fijian fan said.
“We should have brought in the subs which could have added some punch to the attacks because even though we had a lot of possession, it seemed like we didn’t have the thrust needed to punch holes in the Australia defence,” another said.
Malakai Ravulo came in for Netani Talei in the 67th minute while Nemia Soqeta replaced Tevita Cavubati earlier in the 62nd minute which stabilized the back row in the forwards.
“We had them on the ropes but could not finish them off because we did not utilize our opportunities,” another fan said.
But also included in much of the commentary was the pride in the way Fiji competed in the set pieces winning tightheads against the Australians in the scrums and winning three lineouts in a row from Australian throw ins in the second half during this crucial period.
“The way the forwards won their own scrums and lineouts is a far cry from the way Fijians played in big games against Australia and England,” a commentator said.
“I am very proud to see the team playing well and winning balls in the set pieces which used to be our weakness for a long time.”
Another fan said in talks about the match yesterday that the team had vastly improved but all the possession were not fully utilized because we were looking at field position which forced the kickers to give possession away.
“Our strength is in running with the ball and we should take more options in running the opposition down with ball in hand instead of kicking the ball to the other team.”