Rugby los­ing out again in Fare­brother 2016

Fiji Sun - - Comment - OSEA BOLA Feed­back: os­eab­fi­

Un­for­tu­nately rugby con­tin­ues to be a loser in the HFC Bank Fare­brother Chal­lenge 2016. As the cur­tains came down for an­other sea­son, Nadroga stamped its mark, de­fend­ing the ti­tle for an­other year in a splen­did per­for­mance, hu­mil­i­at­ing the last chal­lenger Navosa 40-25 at Lawaqa Park, Si­ga­toka, yes­ter­day. Our na­tional game was beaten just as badly as the eight chal­lengers and this mir­rored heav­ily on the de­vel­op­ment, progress, or the lack of it, in our provin­cial rugby. What used to be a grip­ping, bone-crunch­ing and nail-bit­ing af­fair, right to full­time, turned out to be dull, off-colour and frus­trat­ing en­coun­ters. It’s not fair when spec­ta­tors pay good money only to watch one-sided, walk-in-the-park chal­lenges. What’s even more shock­ing was even when he Stal­lions were not play­ing at their best, they still won.

This is just like the All Blacks over­pow­er­ing the Wal­la­bies and Spring­boks even when they are not at their lethal best. Two weeks ago, Nadroga recorded per­haps the big­gest win in the his­tory of the Fare­brother Chal­lenge with a thump­ing 92-18 win over Macu­ata. It’s hard to com­pre­hend but fans should be ap­plauded for turn­ing up week in, week out ex­pect­ing ta­bles to turn only to re­turn home with the same out­come. Yes­ter­day, the Stal­lions brushed aside Navosa with ease, even with nine of their se­nior play­ers (Me­su­lame Ku­navula, Ru­peni Nasiga, Ere­masi Radro­dro, Ne­mani Na­gusa, Sak­iusa Ga­vidi, Aliv­ereti Veitokani, Eroni Va­si­teri, Apete Daveta, Ifer­eimi Tovilevu) in Tele­com Fijian War­riors squad pre­par­ing for the Amer­i­cas Pa­cific Chal­lenge in Uruguay next week.

It is only ap­pro­pri­ate there­fore that Nadroga dom­i­nate the lead­er­ship role in the War­riors team with Jone­tani Ratu (back­line coach), Nasiga (cap­tain) Va­si­teri, Na­gusa and Radrodo deputis­ing. Ear­lier Suva, Naitasiri, Nadi, North­land, Namosi and Malolo had a crack at win­ning the sil­ver­ware, but all were booted into touch.

The superiority of the Stal­lions re­flects on the depth of their squad.

This en­ables the coach­ing staff in se­lect­ing a side ev­ery week that would main­tain a high stan­dard of per­for­mance and si­mul­ta­ne­ously grow­ing play­erdepth and ex­pe­ri­ence. Like the All Blacks, the ex­pec­ta­tion and de­mand are high for the Stal­lions, build­ing on their per­for­mances in ev­ery game.

Let’s hope, for 2017, the chal­lengers would put up a stronger fight and buck the trend; to make the com­pe­ti­tion more ex­cit­ing for fans, ma­jor spon­sor HFC Bank and all stake­hold­ers. When that hap­pens, rugby will be­come the win­ner.

The Fijian back­line are pre­pared to de­liver well against top teams like Samoa A and Ar­gentina XV.

Senirusi Seru­vakula

Tele­com Fijian War­riors head coach

Nadroga cap­tain Ne­mani Na­gusa train­ing with the Tele­com Fijian War­riors. Photo: Vil­imoni Va­ganalau

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