A sleeping giant is nearly awake

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Mata'afa Keni Lesa

Yes folks that was all so close. Excruciatingly so.

Today, it is absolutely undeniable that we all feel so gutted. 

Who wouldn’t be after such a close game against Fiji?

Let’s see. All Samoa needed to do was secure the ball, pass it or get someone to boot it out and that would have been the game. Period.

Of all the people, you would think that someone like Falemiga Selesele would have had the common sense to do what was needed. 

As the most senior member of the squad, there was absolutely no need for him to commit to the tackle. He had enough players around him and with the time up on the clock, he could have at least passed it. 

He didn’t. He instead committed and lost control of the ball. 

It spun out and the rest as they say is history. 

So close yet so far. 

It was disappointing, teary-eyed kind of stuff because all of us just want these guys to do well. We have been waiting patiently for them to come around. 

We kind of had a feeling that something special was in the air this weekend and we were seconds away yesterday. 

But that was not to be. 

Imagine Sir Gordon Tietjens, his management team and the players themselves after that game? What must have been going through their minds when Fiji scooted down the touchline to score winning try in that epic quarterfinal? Cruel, isn’t it?

I guess you can say that is the nature of sport. Okay fair enough. 

But how long can we continue to be at the receiving end of 50/50 situations and come up empty handed?

The questions will never end. That is for sure.

But then that is to be expected from a rugby mad country where everyone held their breath yesterday hoping against hopes that somewhere somehow our men in blue can pull off the performance we know they are capable of coming up with.

We know they have worked hard and they have been through a lot. They are a mighty talented bunch who perhaps just don’t know it yet.

But it’s the little things that become big things, which unfortunately determine the outcome of games. 

The one against Fiji yesterday was a classic example. It was a case of common sense. Today there will be so much regrets and so many what ifs.

That said, it must be stated on the record that the performance in Hamilton was a much-improved one from the Manu Samoa Sevens following the disappointment of Sydney last week – and from previous tournaments.

They were a lot more polished, disciplined and they played with a lot more passion and conviction. 

And boy it was a pleasure to watch some of the tackling too. One of the tackles against the U.S.A. was a rare glimpse of what Samoan rugby was once like. It was brutal, fair and it had an impact because it truly rattled the opposition who never really recovered. 

Even some of the tackles against Fiji left a mark. It was refreshing to watch.

Let’s be honest with ourselves here, when it comes to Sevens these days, many of us are afraid to even watch for fear of being disappointed. We are tired of losing.

To say that we are a hot and cold kind of team is an understatement. We are even more unpredictable than that. We can be freezing and then suddenly turn smoking hot. 

The problem with that is we then lack the consistency that’s required to pull through tough situations where we’ve so often find ourselves.

Yesterday, it was stupidity that cost us in the end. Perhaps also the lack of attention to simple things. 

But overall it was a lot better.

As a Sevens nation, Samoa is a giant that has been sleeping for far too long now. 

Here is praying and hoping that they continue the form we saw in Hamilton and we will finally see the best of a team of giants we’ve been quietly hoping would wake up sooner than later.

Have a great week Samoa, God bless!

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