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Friends off the field … Fiji sevens players Emosi Vucago and Osea Kolinisau flank New Zealand sevens mastermind Tomasi Cama at the team hotel in Wellington on Sunday. Cama led New Zealand to beat Fiji in the final of the Wellington 7s tournament last Sa
ENGLAND’s Isoa Damudamu did it in the quarter-finals in Dubai and Port Elizabeth and Tomasi Cama repeated it in Wellington.
Two of the HSBC Series most tactical coaches Ben Ryan and Gordon Tietjens have found that the ultimate weapon to stop Fijian sevens rugby prowess in the 2011-2012 season is using another Fijian.
Just like the old adage ‘it takes a thief to catch a thief’, it also takes a Fijian to stop a Fijian.
This has been happening for many years and another Fijian has joined Tietjens team to Vegas.
But as for Fiji-born Tomasi Cama, like wine, he gets better with age.
While Tietjens played down the pivotal role of the 32-year old Koro islander, no one can argue the fact that without him, the Kiwis will be plain ordinary.
Tietjens said in the after-match interview that it was a team effort as the reporter threw the obvious question on whether Cama had been the reason behind the win.
After receiving heavy marking from England in their semi-final clash, New Zealand were in sixes and sevens as England led 12-7.
With time ticking away and nowhere to go, Cama hoisted the ball in a diagonal kick behind the England defence for Tim Mickelson to chase and then feed DJ Forbes for the winner.
In the final, Cama was the master tactician behind the Kiwi’s attack and defence.
His last gasp effort against Fiji hooker Lepani Botia to drive him over the touchline stopped a sure Fiji try and finished off the first half with a try of his own.
We believe he could have led New Zealand to more tries in the second half but did not.
At the sound of the hooter he kicked the ball out to avoid further punishment.
Cama senior must be very proud of the achievements of his son as any father would have been and also for rugby fans all over the country we congratulate Cama for the achievement.
However, he is only reaping the benefits of his dedication and discipline over the years and the many disappointments a couple of years ago when he nursed a knee injury and would not always complete matches.
He had also played second fiddle to the maestro himself Waisale Serevi for several years.
But without doubt in the 2011-2012 HSBC series Tomasi Cama is the greatest sevens player on the planet and he is enjoying the best years of his rugby.
When England thought that they had him cornered and wrapped in a cocoon he struck.
He thrives under pressure and from Wellington to Las Vegas every other coach in the series would be digging deep into their coaching experience trying to figure out how to stop Cama.
Last year he had opted to concentrate on the fifteens code but not surprisingly he returned and must have been at the urging of Tietjens and the unique camaraderie of the NZ sevens gladiators.
As for our team, it is so far so good.
If players want tips to stop the New Zealand sevens star then they can just call former Kabara Island Zone rugby rep Ilaitia Vakayatuyatu, who is on a visit to his relatives in Dogo Place, Kinoya.
Vakayatuyatu has some interesting tactics learnt from the battles of the island zone 20 years ago, especially after several bowls of yaqona. His tactics go back to when rugby was not really a game but a form of controlled tribal warfare with the referee at the end of the game running for his life.
On the serious side when asked of his view of the type of game plan he thought could bring victory, he said the coaches should use long striding Sekonaia Kalou outside the wing like Ratu Kitione Vesikula did with Mesake Rasari in the nineties.
Also for players to use their fend every time they have the ball.Interesting view from the islands, indeed.
However, we may have lost but reaching the final was a miracle on its own. We may have lost the battle but the war is still on.
Only four members of the team that won the Gold Coast Sevens are in the 12-member squad.
If we look at the bright side Fiji was the only team not allowed to use it’s full potential because of the military ban.
Our players are so familiar with Cama as they travel and stay together in all tournaments and outside the ground Cama is a Fijian through and through.
Last week he posed for a photo with Osea Kolinisau, Emosi Vucago and other Fijian students who were in Wellington.
He is softspoken, humble and easygoing.
That is exactly why he is running around freely among our players in games because he earns their respect.
It is the same case when Fiji meets England. They let Isoa Damu run around the paddock and in the last leg he was responsible for both Fiji’s losses in Dubai and Port Elizabeth.
When Sugar Ray Leonard challenged unbeaten world middleweight boxing champion Marvin Hagler for his title, after having collected the scalps of Tom Hearns, Panama’s Robert Duran and every other welterweight champion on the planet, his first mission was to befriend him.
Hagler was a ruthless man in the ring and he achieved this by psyching himself up during his preparations.
By the time the bell sounded his opponent would be the most hated man in his life.
He was unbeaten for many years.
So Sugar Ray bought a shop in New York and invited Hagler to do the official opening.
Weeks later Sugar Ray won the WBA middleweight title sending Hagler to his first defeat.
In his book, Sugar Ray said that when Hagler agreed to open his shop in New York, he had 50 per cent of the fight already won.
It was a psychological tactic as Hagler found it hard to hate his opponent when the two finally met.
To stop Cama is not only a physical effort but first it would have to be a psychological effort and pep talks before kickoff and halftime is important to keep players focussed.
Because if Fiji wants to win in Las Vegas they will have to close him up and tackle him when in range and never let him dictate play or ground him hard with his first touch of the ball.
The Fiji players will have to learn to leave their feelings in the dressing room and run into the ground with no respect of the reputation of any Tom, Dick and Harry.
O Tomu se o Jeke, Go Fiji Go!!
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Article source: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=192815