Rio Olympics 2016: Chris Rattue - Let's dream of a day when Fiji win World Cup

Vatemo Ravouvou, Viliame Mata, and Semi Kunatani, of Fiji, pose with fans after winning the gold medal match against Britain. Photo / AP.
Vatemo Ravouvou, Viliame Mata, and Semi Kunatani, of Fiji, pose with fans after winning the gold medal match against Britain. Photo / AP.

Come on world rugby, and particularly New Zealand and Australia. Have a closer look at, and respect for, what exists on your doorstep.

Fiji's Olympic sevens victory, by a stunning margin over Great Britain, is the feel good story of the Games so far. For those of us in this part of the world, it may not be beaten.

It brought tears to Fijian eyes, and they were not alone. But don't let it stop there.

Fiji were amazing in the final, Great Britain no match. Perhaps no side would have been including a cumbersome New Zealand outfit which - in hindsight - probably did quite well in keeping the margin of defeat low in their playoff against Fiji.

This is the first time a union minnow has claimed a top prize on a world stage beyond the gaze of the rugby community. So let's dream, of a day when Fiji might win the actual World Cup.

Fijian coach Ben Ryan - England's sevens coach for many years - said after the win in Rio that he is staggered by what he sees kids do playing rugby in Fiji. That is easy to believe when you look at the startling combination of pace, power and skill Fijian players bring to union and league, often on the wing. And their love of the game is off the scale.

As Ryan said: : "It's like there's two religions in Fiji. On Sunday there's church and no sport, but every other day there's rugby."

Ryan says if more resources were put into Fiji, it would unlock what he believes is amazing potential in all formats of the game. He is in a great position to judge, and his post-victory comment must be regarded as significant.

Yes, there are administrative problems in that part of the world, ones that have struck Tongan and Samoan rugby in recent times. Fiji is a political minefield. But I often get the feeling that the world rugby powers know how to keep the Pacific Island countries in their place while appearing to support them.

The big guns notch up air miles aplenty to spread their game, but won't go the extra mile in truly promoting and supporting Fiji, Tonga and Samoa (while more than happy to select players of that heritage).

New Zealand, or is it SANZAAR, are chasing their tail all over the world, it seems. Global, global, global. They should think again about what their nearest neighbours can bring to the game. Olympic champions Fiji will celebrate long and hard. The big guns of world rugby should a long and hard look, at themselves.

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