The Fiji Times

Maestro recalls 1999 games

- By RODNEY DUTHIE in France

WAISALE Serevi travelled across the Atlantic Ocean from the US to France to support and witness a dawn of a new era of Flying Fijians doing wonders at the Rugby World Cup.

For someone that has built his legacy in the world of rugby and earned his name as the “7s Maestro”, and the “King of 7s”, praised the current group of young Flying Fijians players in France for changing the perception of Fiji rugby.

Reflecting on the evolution of Fijian rugby many years ago to this day, Serevi recalled their RWC campaign 24 years ago when former head coach Brad Johnston was the mentor for the 1999 World Cup Flying Fijians team.

“I remember what our coach Brad Johnston always say, ‘I’m fed up of the whole world saying we play entertaini­ng rugby, entertaini­ng rugby, people are happy but we not winning the games’,” said Serevi.

However, winds of change are coming our way after he witnessed two exciting pool games against Tier One teams that attracted the world’s attention on this group of players.

“In the past two games, what we saw was a little bit of structured rugby, not really entertaini­ng but they kept the ball when they were suppose and they kicked when they were supposed to kick, and pass when they were supposed to pass,” said Serevi, who played for Fiji at three RWCs.

“Normally before we used the ball from our 22 (metre) to the tryline but we always lose the game because we were playing at the wrong end of the field.”

Serevi is confident this team has a lot to offer and had proven themselves against

Wales and Australia.

“We now know how to win big games and we have a very good kicker to kick for goal.

We can compete and win.

“I believe the boys have the confidence. We’ve made a very strong statement that we can compete and play against Tier One teams,” said Serevi.

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