Letters to the Editor | Tuesday, February 27, 2024

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Fijian Drua hooker Tevita Ikanivere on the charge against Auckland Blues in New Zealand last weekend. Picture: Fijian Drua facebook

Blues sink Drua

The much-anticipated clash between the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua and the Auckland Blues at the Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei lived up to expectations. Although the Drua lost, they gave the Blues a run for their money. The Blues had the upper hand, considering they were laced with big names in Kurt Eklund, Angus Ta’avao, Dalton Papali’i, Hoskins Sotutu, Finlay Christie, Stephen Perofeta, Caleb Clarke, Harry Plummer, Rieko Ioane, Mark Tele’a, Zarn Sullivan and AJ Lam who had a taste of Super Rugby and All Blacks experience. Thus, former Fiji Water Flying Fijians coach Vern Cotter had the last laugh. Ill-discipline on defence and poor ball handling cost the Drua in the first half against a Blues side who were ready to make them pay, and while the Blues took advantage of scoring chances, we missed the ones that could have made the difference. The Blues had killed the game in the first half, with some brilliant tries, so this week against the Moana Pasifika the Drua must play for the full 80 minutes and execute the set pieces. A win is a must to set the standard for a place in the top eight. Toso Drua! RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Nadawa, Nasinu

18 failed attempts

Fiji men’s 7s string of 18 failed attempts at the HSBC 7s series over some 23 months or so, is now a downright humiliating embarrassment. This is definitely unbecoming a bad nightmare, as in the better days under Ben Ryan and Gareth Baber, we were two-time Olympic gold medallists. Ben Gollings is a sad story. Very politely, a good British 7s player in Gollings, has not translated into him being a good 7s rugby coach. Quite frankly, the very opposite. It is the perfect time for Ben to amicably part ways with FRU. Fiji might as well give the opportunity to Serevi and Tuwai to take our national 7s team forward, in the interim. They might prove to be worthier. We have nothing more to lose. I could not be more serious than this. Gollings has failed after 18 embarrassing attempts in the HSBC circuit. Sa rauta. Vakacegu mada. Vinaka vakalevu. (Enough, take a rest, thank you so much.) RONNIE CHANG Martintar, Nadi

The end of cheques

Will people be left behind when cheques as a form of transaction are no longer valid? I definitely think so. We still have a large portion of our population who are still not altogether savvy with all the technological advancements these days. Things are growing at such an exponential rate, that even those who profess to be in the know among us, are still trying to catch up! Most of the population are still on the fringes and the periphery of it all and I fear they will be left behind if they lack the required knowledge, the tools and most of all, accessibility. I sincerely hope that when we make far-reaching decisions, like doing away with the use of cheques and probably hard cash itself, we are really mindful and understand the related issues and problems people will face and its effects on their daily lives. Change should never be for the sake of change itself! EDWARD BLAKELOCK Pacific Harbour

Wrap around bandages

Considering the amount of bandages and plasters on arms and fists, aren’t they necessary or just another of those wannabes looking cool in some rugby matches. Aren’t they a bit too heavy again? While other national teams don’t have that tactic except when necessary as they unfold year in and year out. I understand in boxing, that “fistful of dollars” is a necessity to increase the rigidity of the hand and facilitate the transfer of the force in a give and take match. Just saying eh! JIOJI O TORONIBAU Navetau, Tunuloa

Refereeing standards

It was disappointing to see the assistant referee who controlled the Lautoka and Navua game on Sunday, telling the spectators to shut up after he made numerous blunders. The same assistant did the same with the Rewa game. After the game, the assistant referee should have just walked away instead of talking back to the spectators. FIFA should really look at who gets the badge in future because the referee and his assistant who controlled Lautoka game against Navua, their badge should be removed. The referee said play on and Lautoka scored the goal but the assistant said otherwise. FFA what will you do now? GEOFFREY CHAND Lautoka

Series standing

Our world sevens series third-place standing is not an indication of our good performance. We are simply hanging in the top three because other top teams such as Australia, South Africa, France and USA are all under-performing as well. Ireland and NZ did well in Vancouver 7s is the reason why they are almost upon us with Ireland leapfrogging us to second place. Can we please not use the series standings as a reason to say we are doing absolutely well. I remember the key performance indicators that were set by Ben Ryan to remain in the top four of every tournament that pushed us to win events. We are struggling in the quarters and believe me we need to fi nd the answers now or never. Can we remove the blinkers as it’s hurting to see our sevens mana magic sinking. Can we stop the tanoa and start the talanoa and veilomani. SHALWYN PRASAD Nabua, Suva

Not a racist country

GOP presidential candidate Nikki Haley said “America has never been a racist country” (America Decides. CBS Mornings 26/2/24). Made me wonder if she’s been living on a different planet? She does not know the history of her own country founded on institutionalised racism and plagued by ongoing racism in contemporary America. RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Military backup

The RFMF commander has declared the military’s willingness to help with the combing of drugs. In my view, do they have the proper professional training? Narcotic officers need to be professionally qualified and well versed with the relevant crime legislation, including human rights laws. It is like their “rules of engagement”. They are enforcement police officers who deal with drug-related crimes. It would be wise to engage military personnel, only on the “militarised” aspect. SAMU SILATOLU Nakasi, Nausori

Gollings must go

Frankly speaking, there is no further hope remaining in Ben Gollings after delivering yet another disappointing event in Vancouver. We have seen everything he could have possibly done and I genuinely do not have faith in him defending our Olympics gold medal. No further explanations are needed, Gollings must go! RAYNAV CHAND Nakasi, Nausori

Refereeing standard

I believe the standard of refereeing in Fiji is a major concern. The game between Lautoka and Navua got spoiled because of some of the decisions made by the referee. Since when can the referees’ assistant overrule a referee? I clearly heard the referee shouting play on and his sign language said the same. Very sad day for Fiji soccer. ASHMEET KUMAR Lautoka

Support for Israel

Raj Kumar’s statement that “Israel has not stolen or colonised any Palestinian land” (ST 25/2) makes me wonder if he is an expert on the subject. Is he? What does the empirical evidence say about Israeli colonisation, occupation and oppression of Palestinians? RAJEND NAIDU Sydney, Australia

Time’s up, Ben

Enough is enough. 18 tournaments in almost 24 months, all talk and reasons by Ben are just it. Absolutely nothing to show. Fiji men’s 7s failed again in the HSBC Vancouver 7s. This is just not good enough. In my view, the time has come to part ways, amicably, with Fiji rugby. Thank you for trying. Your best was never good enough. Fiji 7s fans have endured more than enough humiliation in these 24 annoying months. Respectfully, FRU, please be bold. Do the right thing now. Grant us all a better Easter 2024. Moce mada, Ben. RONNIE CHANG Martintar, Nadi

Attack on public toilets

Vandalism of public toilets is an issue municipal councils have to deal with every day as the situation on the ground reveals. As with other council assets in parks and open spaces, public toilets are unsupervised amenities that, in many cases, are situated in isolated locations where regular surveillance is less than ideal. As a result, they are unfortunately being targeted for vandalism. This issue has been negatively impacting councils and their communities with seemingly no end in sight. Most common forms of vandalism that you come across are: q Graffiti — writing or drawings scribbled, scratched or sprayed illicitly on or in the public toilet. q Infrastructure damage — when public toilet infrastructure such as toilet pans, urinals, doors, cisterns, toilet roll dispensers, tiles and partitions, etc. have been purposefully damaged. q Deliberate blocking of toilet pans and sinks — when items such as paper and rubbish, etc. have been purposefully placed in toilet bowls or sinks to create blockages that cannot be released by cleaning methods and require maintenance staff/contractor intervention. These deliberate acts of hooliganism need to be brought under control because it is having dire effects on the overall image and respect for the amenities that are built and maintained for the general good of the people. Undertaking preventative measures as warranted must be explored and implemented sooner rather than later. This issue has been negatively impacting councils and their communities for years and continues doing so even today. So sad that this is happening. SURESH CHAND Nadi

Gollings fails to deliver

Joy for Santiago Gomez Cora and the Los Pumas 7s, but despair and pain for Ben Gollings, members of the Fiji Airways Fiji men’s 7s team and 7s followers. The national 7s team lost three matches-in-a-row in Vancouver, going down to Argentina 24-19, the All Blacks 7s 21-19 and Ireland 24-19. The Los Pumas thrashed the All Blacks 7s 36-12 to claim a hat-trick in Vancouver. The Pumas are in incredible form and are the team to beat. They have power, precision, speed, and the go-to-men who don the 7s jumper with so much pride and passion. As for our men’s team, we must get back to the basics of 7s — passing, tackling, decision making, and communicating. The performance from our boys was far from impressive and again individual decisions and errors cost Fiji dearly. I fail to understand why our boys cheaply kick away possession — seen against the All Blacks 7s in the quarters and against Ireland that led the Irish to scoring the winning try. Vancouver has become our nemesis and something drastic must be done to address our winless run. Gollings has failed to deliver. He must go. Our local coaches, I’m adamant, will do a better job. Things are going from bad to worse and heads must start rolling. RAJNESH ISHWAR LINGAM Nadawa, Nasinu

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