Fiji & Tonga -The future generation
Tonga and Fiji rugby unions have made a giant step over the weekend, the funny part is that these steps were made with their countries smallest ever rugby boots.
Thinking of Tonga and Fiji as rugby nations lots flashes to the mind, speed from Fiji and mighty strength from the Tongan’s. They are not absolute heavy weights in global rugby, but both have caused lots of world teams embarrassment in the past, just look at what happened to Wales in the last RWC for a great indicator.
Over the weekend a signal of the future was played out, the national under 12s and 14s played test matches. Being a first for both countries, it is also the initial steps to their countries future destiny. The world and Pacific are still rejoicing Rugby Sevens inclusion into the Olympics, reality is that come 2016 when this happens, these boys on display in the under 14s will be 21 years old -and in the prime of their Sevens rugby ability. They are the age group that will be running for gold.
The under 14s test was played straight after the under 12s, it is amazing to see what 2 years can do to the body of an Island kid. As the under 14s ran out to the pitch it is clear to see they are well on the way to being labeled men. Already the Tongan build is significantly stockier than the taller leaner Fijian mould.
What transpired after kick off was a torrid game of footy, after only four minutes Fiji’s left-winger Mafi Vaihola displayed mammoth pace and zest to score the opening try. Showing genetic code of Fiji’s finest wings of the past, this guy carved 6 would be tacklers on the way to the try of the day. This set the home sides intentions early and they never eased off that tempo for a well-balanced game plan to win.
Watching on the tempo and mindset of these young ones was amazing, they blew rucks out well, they had moves galore in the backs, and had forwards ready to rumble up the middle and range wide to tackle fancy backs. The maturity and intensity of their play was way superior to their playing age.
For Tonga their hooker Mafile’o Finau was busy and never gave up, Fiji had way too much strike power today and eventually coasted to a 29-3 victory. The Baby Flying Fijians had lock Kaveni Badenaisa making inroads on the pack, and out wide Vaihola and the backs caused havoc with talented play and pace.
Ball skills were great, tackling was fierce and general play was positive from both sides. Kicking was probably the only weak point on this test, lots of lofted nobody kicks were employed by both sides, however with this came entertaining counter attacking that the crowd lapped up.