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Fiji’s John Stewart tries to break the Welsh defence as teammate Vilitati Sokiveta comes in for support at the Port Elizabeth Sevens at Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium last weekend. Picture: MARTIN SERAS LIMA
IMAGINE this national sevens team made up of locally-based players to represent us to the June Sevens Rugby World Cup in Moscow.
Props, Leone Nakarawa and Sekonaia Kalou with Lepani Botia as hooker.
Halfback, Emosi Vucago, playmaker Joji Ragamate, rover Ice Katonibau with winger Alipate Ratini. Reserves: Inia Tukere, Setefano Cakau, Apisai Domolailai, Ilai Tinai and Osea Kolinisau
If overseas-based players Metuisela Talebula, Vereniki Goneva and Waisea Nayacalevu are injury-free and available, then they should force their way into this team.
National XVs locks Leone Nakarawa and Kalou — both former national sevens reps — will definitely give us confidence if Alifereti Dere aims to recruit them for his world cup campaign.
They are here in Fiji having passed their sevens appearances at international level with flying colours and they give us a psychological advantage.
The late Ratu Kitione Vesikula always said he used Mesake Rasari not only for his speed but that whenever the opposing team saw him lining up at the beginning of the game, Fiji would have gained 50 per cent psychological advantage.
His size and speed scared the opposition.
The sheer sizes of Nakarawa and Kalou will send shivers down the spine of opposing teams and if Fiji wants to send the best team to Moscow, then these two should be rated top choices in the dominate and destroy department.
Gordon Tietjens is building up solid forward Ben Lam to be his destructive weapon and he is gaining a reputation.
Imagine Nakarawa and Kalou smashing players in tackles and they have the speed of wingers to match anyone in the game.
Dere could reintroduce them in the remaining legs of the HSBC Sevens World Series so the sevens world are aware of their potential.
Let their faces and massive sizes register on all our opponents mental set up in the next couple of sevens tournaments.
After a hectic XVs season and rest, the twin towers will have to go through the sevens training mode to regain sevens form.
After couple of sevens tournaments it has been proven that possession in the set pieces determined the outcome of the game.
Against New Zealand we won kickoffs, lineouts and won.
Against France we did not and continually lost balls in kickoffs and we lost.
Now that the exercise of exposing hidden talents have ended, hopefully national sevens coach Dere would have a fair inkling of the make-up of his squad to the Moscow Sevens Rugby World Cup. Despite the results, he is much the wiser now on the talents available to him for the world cup in Moscow.
But for Wellington and Las Vegas, where his assistant Timoci Wainiqolo is expected to be coach, Fiji needs to send a shadow RWC team to win this tournament.
If the national sevens selectors have been following the local sevens tournaments then Emosi Vucago and Osea Kolinisau are the answers to Fiji’s sevens woes.
Their experience and take-no-prisoner approach will inspire the younger players in the team in those moments of lapse against the minnows.
In the Vancouver Sevens final against the Labasa-based Army team at Ganilau Park, the two men rose out of the mud to send the soldiers reeling.
A lot of dirty and rough play went unnoticed by the referee and linesmen but the two retaliated through grit and determination.
Vucago had the crowd cheering wild with a sensational try which he created by making a ‘kamikaze’ dive into the ruck, his head clashing against the head of the soldier protecting the ball.
The soldier was knocked back flat on the muddied ground as Vucago scooped the ball and ran twenty metres for the try.
If he was looking for players to win kickoffs and lineout balls then he has some potential in Tailevu flanker Inia Tukere who could fill in the absence of Kalou and Nakarawa.
Tukere gave rugby fans a glimpse of his potential in Fiji’s win against New Zealand in the final pool game.
Receiving a pass in midfield he stepped inside a tackler and made a powerful run to the tryline shrugging off tacklers the last being Tomasi Cama bouncing off his legs. He dived over with a Kiwi hanging on his back.
As of Dere’s free running style of sevens rugby, players should realise that it is more effective to be unpredictable as most teams are now familiar with our style of play and anticipating the next move.
A kick and chase attack or setting up of a ruck are the other options to take and will prevent the opposition from intercepting our long passes back as it happened against France.
The ruck means an offside line and players should not totally avoid it as it provides new ways of attacking when the defence seems impenetrable.
Article source: http://www.fijitimes.com/story.aspx?id=219825