Editorial comment – Lessons to learn from

Fiji’s Iowane Raturaciri scores a try against Australia on day one of the Dubai Emirates Airline Rugby Sevens 2021 men’s competition. Picture: Credit: MIKE LEE/KLC FOTOS FOR WORLD RUGBY

After the first event without fans, it was good to see them back when the Dubai 7s kicked off on Friday.

Upsets were the order of the day for the national side in the men’s competition.

In fact it was good to see fans back at The Sevens Stadium.

As the stands steadily filled up throughout the day, you could see the colours returning to the series.

There was excitement, and the sounds on the stands brought life to the day’s proceedings, bringing back some semblance of normality as well to the much anticipated event.

Clearly, in our case, reputation meant nothing.

What mattered was the result on the scoresheet.

Defeats to France and Spain meant that for only the second time in the World Rugby 7s Series history in Dubai, since, 2019, we failed to make it through to a Cup quarterfinal.

When it mattered, we dropped our guard, and came undone against the French and Spain.

We defeated Argentina quite convincingly in our fi- nal game, but it wasn’t enough to take us through anywhere.

It is clear that hard work is needed as we look ahead to more tournaments.

Our rookies learnt that at the highest level, consistency is king!

It has never been easy anyway heading into the second leg of any tournament.

There are many considerations to account for.

Dietary requirements, fatigue, injuries and sore bodies, and the fact that better resourced teams would have had the opportunity to go through videos, analysing plays, individual players, gameplans, weaknesses and strengths before the second leg.

It is never easy backing up, with just a few days to recover and maintain peak performance.

The turnaround time is short.

Champion teams, however, stand out because they are able to adapt faster.

Understandably it is never easy winning back to back tournaments as well.

There are lessons to learn from this event, and the effort against Argentina proved we have the calibre of players to match the best at this level.

The challenge is how quickly we can get them to meet expectations consistently at the highest level of the game.

Attention will no doubt be focused on the coaching team moving forward.

They will need to motivate our players to believe in themselves, and have the confidence to make things happen at this level.

They will need to inspire them to stay focused and composed, and fit enough to make sound decisions under pressure.

We acknowledge the efforts of the Fijiana and say go Fiji, go.

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