Ready the sails! Drua test uncharted waters in first Super Rugby Pacific finals

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua replacement outside centre, Michael Naitokani on attack against the Queensland Reds defence during their Super Rugby match at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Saturday, June 03, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

The HFC Bank Stadium was covered in a sea of blue as the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua showcased a masterpiece of success against the Reds in the Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific competition.

Like strokes of brilliance on a canvas, their journey illuminated the hearts of rugby enthusiasts across the nation and the world.

The boys soared to unprecedented heights, defying expectations and carving their name into the annals of history.

The true spirit of Fiji, infused with hues of resilience and passion, coursed through their veins, propelling them towards victory with each thunderous stride.

It was a do or die.

From the start we knew we were in for a treat.

Something about how they came in, how they delivered the i bole, the first 20 minutes, it was magical.

On the embankments we stood.

Hardly anyone was on their seats anyway.

The world’s famous fans came with expectations and the boys delivered.

Even as we watched with anticipation, there was a feeling in the air.

Everything about them made sense.

The oceanic blue of their jerseys mirrored the vast Pacific surrounding and the island paradise they call home.

With each clash on the field, they embodied the strength and grace of the mighty canoes that used to sail our seas.

They moved in unison, like a synchronised dance of warriors, their movements a symphony of power and precision.

The roar of the crowd, draped in vibrant colours, created an electrifying atmosphere.

The slight drizzle meant nothing.

The mud on the grass embankments meant nothing.

The wet seats, nobody cared.

The whole stadium was a kaleidoscope of cheering fans.

Their voices became an orchestra of unwavering support.

In the sea of passionate faces, adorned with warpaint and vibrant tribal patterns, unity prevailed.

People from all walks of life, regardless of ethnicity or social background, converged to rally behind their beloved team.

They were bound by a shared love for rugby, an indelible thread weaving the tapestry of Fijian culture.

As the boys charged forward, leaving their opponents in their wake, victory danced in the air.

If it was anything to go by, their performance on Saturday symbolised the fierce determination that burned within their hearts, igniting a relentless pursuit of excellence.

My younger brother Isei who was accompanying me and our sports editor Rodney Duthie whispered, “Mate nai lavo.”

I just looked at Rodney and smiled.

Isei was right.

It was all worth it.

Each try scored, each bone-crushing tackle, the atmosphere was different.

It was like the Gods were on our side.

In every aspect of the game, they showed strokes of brilliance.

And as the sun set, on a cold Saturday afternoon in the Capital City, one thing was for certain.

The boys had proven what every critique has been saying all these years.

If given a chance to play in the big leagues, the untapped potential of Fijian rugby will shine through.

The team from a small island nation is casting a radiant glow upon the Super Rugby stage.

In this vibrant tapestry of success, they emerged as the embodiment of the nation’s pride.

Their triumphs transcended the boundaries of sport, resonating deep within the hearts of every Fijian.

Through their unwavering determination and dazzling displays of skill, they show signs of glory, forever etching their mark on the history books of Fijian rugby.

Top eight was the aim, but that doesn’t necessarily stop us from reaching top four.

Ready the sails, we are off to the quarters.

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