The Fijians, perhaps taking a page from the Democrats protesting the outcome of the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, have expressed their “concerns and disappointment” to the honchos of World Rugby after winning none of the major team awards presented at the annual ceremony Monday past.
Most galling for the Fijians, perhaps, was being neglected for the Team of the Year Award, which went to the more-deserving All-Blacks based on their world-record 18 consecutive international Test wins that only recently ended when the Kiwi side was shocked by the Irish in a match played, in of all places, Chicago, U.S., where true Irish supporters and those claiming ties to the Emerald Isle, no matter how tenuous, would have outnumbered New Zealanders by mind-boggling margins.
Another award, Coach of the Year, went to the All-Blacks’ Steve Hansen, ahead of Fiji sevens coach Ben Ryan, who led the Fiji side to Olympic Gold in the 2016 Rio Games.
According to a statement issued by the FRU, the accomplishments of the sevens team, which won consecutive World Sevens titles before going on the win the gold medal in Rio, far exceeded those of the All-Blacks in terms of impact on the game of rugby on a global basis.
It smacks somewhat of sour grapes, but their arguments are not totally without merit, however, no one wants to see rugby follow the path of U.S. sports, where awards are handed out like candy and new categories of awards are conjured to keep everyone happy, even if only for participation.