RWC Diary Day 33 - Greg Smith
01 October, 2011
|Former comrades greet each other - Greg Smith (left) and Nicky Little. |
Well if the Flying Fijians ever needed inspiration against Wales they need only look across the ocean waves to the performance of their neighbours Samoa and Tonga respectively. Samoa did everything but win against the World Champions yesterday while this evening Tonga become the first Pacific Island nation to beat the flamboyant French!
Can we do the same against Wales? Well time will very shortly tell us, however, within camp there is a steely determination and a real hunger in the eyes of the players selected to get the job done, particularly those players who have been named in the run on side for the very first time.
If Setefano Somoca can play with the same fire and resolve he showed in his eyes this evening at the jersey presentation, at our hotel in Hamilton, then we could be in for a very interesting evening come kick-off on Sunday.
Talking of Hamilton it really is a modern, young and sprawling city. Unlike somewhere like Wellington where everything is contained in a central spot, Hamilton is a crawling and creeping suburban sprawl. With 40,000 tertiary students numbered among its inhabitants including up to 1,000 PhD scientists Hamilton in terms of population is also young and trendy.
But as we drove, this morning, into what is New Zealand’s fourth largest city it was almost as if we were driving through the middle of Cardiff with the famous flag - depicting the blood red dragon on a field of green - flying and fluttering from many buildings and motor vehicles. I’m not too sure what the population of Wales is but it feels like half of their population have made their way to Hamilton.
Today’s special guest at the jersey presentation was former Waikato player and Fiji hooker and captain – Greg Smith - who didn’t mince his words as he challenged the players to make the best of the moment they have been given, as some of them may not get the opportunity again.
“Think about the opportunity that you have to go out there and play the game. You go out there and play like there is no tomorrow,” Smith said.
“Go out there and put yourself on the line. Go out there and throw the ball around and be Fijian. Go out there and play like you mean it, like you want to win, like your country depends on, it because it does.”
Just listening to the former Flying Fijians skipper speak you could almost imagine he was wearing the white jersey once again in an effort to summon his players for one last effort, as he used to do ten or so years ago.
Coincidentally Hamilton is actually the home town or former home town of a number of Fiji’s players including Deacon Manu, Nicky Little, Dominiko Waqaniburotu and Albert Vulivuli.
Well Jonny Wilkinson has just converted from the sideline and England have come from behind to beat Scotland 16-12. We’re up next this Sunday at 6:00 PM – COME ON FIJI! It’s dragon slaying time- again! View video of Greg Smith's speech at jersey presentation ceremony.
View the Flying Fijians RWC 2011 photo gallery.
View video highlights of the Flying Fijians in New Zealand.
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