Fiji intent on continuing demolition job in Nelson Mandela Bay tourney

2013-12-05 00:00

PORT ELIZABETH — “If teams allow us to retain possession of the ball, they must be prepared to get a big hiding.”

That is the message from Fiji sevens team captain Osea Kolinisau to all the other teams that are playing in the Nelson Mandela Bay tournament, which is being held this weekend.

The tournament is the third in the International Rugby Board’s (IRB) sevens series and will be played on Saturday and Sunday.

Fiji won last week’s tournament in Dubai by beating the Blitsbokke 29-17 in the final.

It was, however, Fiji’s record run-away 44-0 defeat of New Zealand in the semi-finals that still has the sevens world buzzing. And listening to Kolinisau it is clear that he and his team are intent on continuing with their demolition job.

“Sevens rugby is all about retention of the ball — and against New Zealand we had a lot of that,” he explained.

“We dominated and gave them no opportunity to get back into the game.

“And if we dominate a game in that manner, the scoreboard will keep on ticking. If we enjoy that much possession of the ball it will be no surprise for us to win by much higher scores.”

According to Kolinisau, he and his teammates accept that last week’s tournament is now “history”.

“This week presents its own challenges but we will try to improve on our Dubai performance. Our aim is to win this tournament too, but we know that it will not be easy.

“When you are on top all the other teams want to get your scalp — and we have learnt not to underestimate any other team.”

Fiji coach Ben Ryan said the big win against New Zealand was something exceptional. “I have not yet seen such a sevens match. It was unbelievable.”

Emosi Mulevoro, one of the stars in the team, agrees with his coach. “I think that — prior to the match — the coach [Ryan] expected us to score a couple of good tries, because we have a number of clever and skilled players such as Pio Tuwai.

“We trust each other — and for that reason we often succeed to score tries, which other teams perhaps would not be able to do.”

England captain Tom Powell said Fiji’s huge win over New Zealand did not really surprise him. “Everyone knows that Fiji have the ability to accomplish something like that. People know how Fiji play. It is just a matter of how to stop them from getting started.

“There are, however, days that they will simply be perfect — and then you are in deep trouble,” Powell said yesterday.

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