With the Fiji sevens winning their first medal, never mind gold, I have received numerous texts and email messages from myriad quarters.

"Bula Fiji, matey," an English mate texted. "I'll claim some of the glory too as your coach is a Pom."

In further exchanges the texter distanced himself from a "bloody Team Britain" who only assemble to train and play for eight weeks and "it's not really England, really because watch out what'll happen with the British Lions when they come here next year".

An Aussie colleague flashed via the work Cybermail something along the lines of: "I suppose you'll be celebrating big time with that Fiji win."


Another mate, this time a Scotsman: "Am surprised you haven't been gloating all day. Drinking kava?"

You see, the frustrating part in all of this is I became a New Zealand citizen almost a decade ago.

In some respects, I know how world No1 women's golfer South Korean-born Lydia Ko feels when she flies the Kiwi flag only to find some people questioning her loyalty to her adopted nation.

I would be lying if I said I didn't share a hushed sense of pride that a group of men from the Pacific Islands where I was born and spend 20-odd years of my life had created history by becoming the darling team of Rio.

I suppose a dog doesn't start neighing just because it's born in a manger.

But I certainly found it painful watching the battered, bruised and mentally drained All Blacks Sevens grind their way to fifth place over the Argies.

Something inside of me did want to see the Flying Fijians prevail after the Kiwis' exit.

Perhaps the Twitter message trending from the King of Tonga sums it up best:


"By royal decree, I declare national hug-a-Fijian day. Grab a Fijian pal, squeeze him or her tight. Do it, do it now. Rio 2016 rugby sevens," it says.

To put Fiji's feat in perspective, I like to think the islanders played not just one country but four - England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales - masquerading as Britain.

The result was humiliating for the Poms, thus my scepticism during the IRB series on how Kenya could possibly beat Fiji, let alone thrash them in a leg for their maiden crown.

In the semifinals, the golden boys yesterday overwhelmed the "United Nations" rugby gathering, Japan.

So what went horribly wrong with Sir Gordon Tietjens' men?

Here's my spin on it.

Tietjens, in trying to woo Super Rugby pedigree, included show pony Sonny Bill Williams, who barely lasted a few minutes in the opening loss to Japan.

SBW reportedly told his sister, Niall, the ambulance driver got lost on the way to hospital.

Okay but SBW, who kept his social media alive all the way, got lost in the IRB Series junket and never should have been in the equation.

Imagine how distracting that must be for a team to focus on the job at hand in the face of an injury crisis when one of their own is too busy taking selfies on crutches.

Is it time for Tietjens to let someone else step in with fresh ideas?

Also, if so many key players are breaking down, does that mean the gruelling training routine might be too intense?

After the first loss, play maker Gillies Kaka, of Hawke's Bay, was conspicuous in his absence.

It's not surprising he's off to overseas after Rio.

Dumped work horse Kurt Baker, who played in every tournament of the IRB series this year and more minutes than anyone else, lends credence to a fractured sevens environment.

Conversely, Fiji coach Ben Ryan diplomatically told wonder boy Jarryd Hayne, sorry lad but you're not Rio ready.

Hayne has always had Fiji at heart but regrettably crossed the floor to represent Australia.

Commendably Ryan kept his emotions in check to select a squad with a clear head in a country where many would have felt Hayne should be included.

How great was that move for the gold medallists who didn't lose their composure at any stage of the Rio tourney, displaying cohesiveness and a sixth sense that must be the envy of the world.

No Super Rugby stars, no social media candidates. Just a culture transparently based on a prayer before and after each match.

Fiji's impact on the world has been infectious.

It's for that reason the recently launched inaugural Super 10s early next year will be poorer for ommitting a country that sets the abbreviated format alight.

It's like staging a Fifa World Cup and not extending an invitation to Brazil.