Rugby losing out again in Farebrother 2016
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.
Telecom Fijian Warriors head coach
Nadroga captain Nemani Nagusa training with the Telecom Fijian Warriors. Photo: Vilimoni Vaganalau