Raqamate: I take my hat off to the boys

(IRB.COM) Sunday 14 October 2012
Raqamate: I take my hat off to the boys
Fiji's Joji Raqamate scored twice in the final of the 2012 Gold Coast Sevens

Fiji successfully defended their Gold Coast Sevens title by beating New Zealand 32-14 in a repeat of last year's final.

Joji Raqamate scored a hat-trick in the win, was named in the TV commentators 'Dream Team' and also the player of the tournament, but he was quick to pay tribute to his team.

“I got a shock when I was announced best player," said Raqamate.

"I thank the lord for everything he has done for us, especially the new boys. They pulled up their socks and came to this level of rugby and I am thankful for that.

“This is the first time for us to go back-to-back and retain the title again. It was a hard effort and I take my hat off to the boys.”

For New Zealand, the result was still pleasing for coach Gordon Tietjens in the first round of the 2012/13 HSBC Sevens World Series.

"For those seven young guys playing for first time in the New Zealand jersey it’s a real experience against a pretty good Fiji team," said Tietjens.

"It was awesome for them and they’ll never forget that. You learn from your mistakes and that’s how you grow as a great sevens player.

“I honestly felt going into the final we were up against it. In saying that I thought coming into the tournament if we made the top four I’d be really happy then we made that and into the top two so I was even happier. It’s a great start for us."


Ben Ryan, England coach (after Bowl final loss to Spain):

"We have been hit pretty drastically by injuries. It is like London buses, quite a few come along at the same time and that is what happened today. I really like the way Spain play though. They are a good side, deserve to be a core team. Tiki is a great coach and it is great for them.

"We are only fractions away though. We should have put Kenya away but that draw put us in the Bowl and from there we were pretty disappointed. We don't want to be in Bowls, we want to be at the top of the Series and we think we have the team and squad to do that. It is a marathon, we need to lick our wounds, get on a plane home and get ready for Dubai."

Mic O'Connor, Australia coach (on Plate semi final defeat to Argentina):

"Full credit to Argentina, they didn't give up they fought all the way and we just showed an inability today to close our games.

"There were some good individual performances, Sean McMahon, Pama Fou was good in that game. Matt Lucas' kicks, Jess Parahi has been strong, but it is about putting it all together and getting some consistency there.

"We really appreciate playing in front of a home crowd with a bit of support, we don't get that very often so it is good."

George Gregan, HSBC Rugby Ambassador (on Gold Coast Sevens and Olympics)

"It has always been fantastic weather here, which you expect with Gold Coast. There is a good spirit here and the people are getting right behind it. The action on the field has been fantastic and they haven't disappointed from what I have seen over the past two days.

"It [the Olympic decision] is a pat on the back for these guys. The sport has now been recognised on the best and largest stage. It is something to aspire towards. They always work hard but now they have a carrot in front of them which is a chance to play for an Olympic medal and it doesn't get better than that."


Friday: We are a pack of lions

The 2012 Gold Coast Sevens was Mike Friday's first HSBC Sevens World Series tournament as Kenya coach, and his side progressed to the quarter finals of the 2012 Gold Coast Sevens.

After drawing their opening match with England, a victory over Spain in their third match ensured they qualified to face either defending champions Fiji or hosts Australia on day two after qualifying on points differential.

Friday, who has previous experience on the Series as coach of England believes his side are just at the beginning of their journey.

"After seven minutes I wondered why I ever came back to the Series," admitted Friday.

"We were a little bit starstruck  and were trying to find our feet, but then we got ourselves into motion. The boys are unassuming, they are big imposing guys, but really humble, have a good work ethic and we have a family spirit that we harness. We talk about being a pack of lions in what we do and ts something the boys pride themselves on.

"It is early days and we are on a journey. Reality is we won one, drew one and lost one which isn't anything to write home about but the signs look good and there is still a lot of hard work to do.

"As the day has gone on I have realised this is where I am at my best. I am enjoying it, enjoying being back. It is a wonderful circuit, all the games are tight and it is a wonderful thing to be part of."

Australia's Ed Jenkins (on last-minute win against Fiji on home soil and quarter final match with Kenya):

"The boys dug deep. It went right down to the wire after some tough performances throughout the day so a really good effort from the boys.

"Kenya will be a tough game they had some good wins today and whoever we meet in the cross overs later on I'm sure will be tough as well.

"It is bit surprising actually, I think there were more Fijians in the crowd at the end there but hopefully the crowd builds and we get a good turn out tommorrow."

Argentina's Francisco Merello (on beating Wales to reach Cup quarters):

"It is better late than never. These Sevens are difficult, if your first match and you are asleep it is very expensive. Luckily we could wake up on time.

"We knew to be a great team the first thing you have to do is defend, and after that we could score some tries. The first goal for us was to have a great defence.

"We are all good, no injuries. Go back to the hotel, have good recovery, eat a lot, and sleep to be good for tomorrow. The team that impressed me the most was South Africa and Fiji. They are in good shape and will make a very good tournament."

Carlos Blanco, Spain (after last-minute loss to England):

"It was very disappointing. We play against England quite a lot in the European Championship and we are always not that far from beating them, it would have been nice to get one up on them. Against the best teams you can't relax until the hooter has gone. They will take their opportunities even if it is the last opportunity in the game.

"We are confident every time we go on the field as long as we play well. We can beat any team on our day. We have that urgency and passion you need, we didn't have it against Samoa, but we had it against England and we were 20 seconds away from the win."