Editorial | Belief in our team

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The Flying Fijians team huddle up during training. Picture: FIJI RUGBY/FILE

As we await the announcement of the Flying Fijians side to take on the might of the Australian Wallabies at the Rugby World Cup 2023, there is great anticipation.

In fact the hype is quite high following that cracker against Wales on Monday.

We succumbed to the Welsh 26-32, but there has been an outcry from experts of the game about how it was controlled and raised the question of whether the national side was fairly treated by match officials.

So with that in mind, we take comfort heading into Monday morning’s game with the words of forwards coach Brad Harris.

Fans should expect the Flying Fijians to be on their best behaviour and making opportunities count when we face Australia in St Etienne.

This, he said, is in keeping with an effort to nullify the negative impact of the match officials, if there is any on Monday.

It says a lot about how national coach Simon Raiwalui is actually planning our assault.

He’s not leaving anything to chance and that’s the way it should always be.

So in essence, if we can nullify any negative influence, part of our job is done.

It then leaves our team to focus on the big target before them — to defeat the Wallabies.

Now as we know, it isn’t going to be a walk in the park.

And Raiwalui has alluded to that, suggesting an apprentice and coach sort of scenario, Wallabies coach Eddie Jones being the ‘coach’.

Remember Raiwalui played under Jones and there is respect for the man’s knowledge of the game.

Again, that’s the way it should be.

There is respect going into the game, but it is obvious there is no sense of being intimidated by the big names in the Wallabies side at all on our part.

So we go in humble and respectful, but ready to deliver what we should be doing on the field.

As Harris says, we have to rule the referee out of deciding the fate of the team.

Last week, Englishman Matthew Carley came under the spotlight for being lenient on Wales in that loss.

This week, Welshman Andrew Brace will control Fiji’s game against Australia.

Harris said while the appointment was out of their control, they would do the simple things to eliminate Brace’s involvement.

That will mean looking at ourselves and doing the little things that must be done to take us onto a strong platform.

So it will mean sharpening up our completion rate inside the opposition 22, and getting those vital points registered.

It means watching our tackle height, and varying our game to suit the run of play.

And the important bit is discipline!

Can we do it?

Sure thing!

Look at the base.

We have a very powerful scrum, a strong lineout and we have flair and unpredictability in the backline.

We have a strong tight-five and backrow.

In fact we have pace, athleticism, strength and grunt upfront.

That’s where the battle is won first.

We have shown that we can be assertive and in control.

In the backline, we have arguably some of the best in the business.

It is now up to the team to commit to the plan.

Nullify the impact of the referee on the final outcome, raise the stakes upfront, be competitive in the breakdowns, and allow space and provide possession for our backline to display feats of magic.

We have the makings of a strong squad.

It is now up to the players to want that victory, and for the fans to back our team.

We say go Fiji, go!

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