Flyer Ilai Tinai admitted his main feeling was relief after his Digicel Fiji 7s team’s 21-10 win over the BlitzBokke in one of the semi finals of the 2012 Gold Coast 7s tournament.
Tinai was flashed a yellow, his second of the tournament, into the third minute of the second half when the scoreline was 14-10.
Thanks to great defense from the team, the Wardens flyer was able to redeem himself by scoring the winning try on his return to the pitch.
“I was really disappointed when I was shown that yellow card. I was not expecting it,” Tinai told FijiLive.
“It was heartbreaking because then and there we were playing one of the best teams in the Series and I knew that mistakes like that could cost us. I could literally feel the pain my brothers who were remaining on the pitch were feeling when I walked out.
“Sitting on the sideline looking back on the pitch, I was hurting and praying as well that South Africa would not score.
“And against a quality opponent at that we could not have made the finals had South Africa scored.
“So I owe it to them for holding their ground in that two minutes that I was sitting out."
In retrospect, Tinai admitted that he was “probably meant to get that yellow card.”
“I'm not proud of myself for picking up that second yellow card, but I think I needed that two minutes to rest, regroup, get my mental cap back on to come back and score that winning try.
“In fact that feeling of disappointment of being taken out in the crucial stages of a game strengthened my resolve to make up for the mistake. And I thank the Almighty for that as well as the team for their great support.”
Tinai is looking forward to his 2-week break before preparation for the Dubai 7s tourney resumes.
He was ordered to take a 2-week to rest because of a leg injury.
“Its only for two weeks. I need to look after myself well as I intend to return to fight for a place in the team to Dubai.”
Tinai picked up his first yellow card in their 19-7 win over Samoa in the Cup quarterfinals.