Super Rugby Pacific | Nothing to lose – Skipper

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua players Caleb Muntz (left) and Kemu Valetini at Nadi International Airport yesterday. Muntz will start at flyhalf for the Drua while Valetini is on the bench. Picture: FIJIAN DRUA

“We will lift our level to match the Crusaders.”

These were the words of Swire Shipping Fijian Drua captain Meli Derenalagi as the team left our shores yesterday to play their first-ever Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific quarter-match final against defending champion Crusaders.

The Drua take on the Crusaders at the Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch, New Zealand at 7.05pm this evening.

While speaking to the media at the Nadi International Airport, Derenalagi said they were aware of the winning mentality possessed by the Crusaders having won the competition a record 11 times.

“We will show them respect on the field but we will try to play our game to that level and also lift it up to the standard that they have been, plus have that kind of winning mentality that they have,” he said.

The hard-hitting forward added the feelings were the same in camp and they would treat every game as the grand final.

“The boys have been encouraging and motivating each other and they have been looking forward to this quarter-final, all throughout the week.

“One thing that our coach told us is that this is not the same Crusaders team that has won the competition 11 times.

“We have been building on that winning mentality as we go through the quarter-finals.”

He acknowledged the fans for always backing the side.

“This is their team and the boys are so happy that they (fans) are always getting behind us and supporting us throughout the season.

“It is the first time for us to be in the play-offs, and we will give our all on the field. We have nothing to lose and it is a do or die battle for us,” said Derenalagi.

Crusaders head coach Scott Robertson has named eight All Blacks in Will Jordan, Braydon Ennor, Jack Goodhue, Leicester Fainga’anuku, Richie Mo’unga, Mitchell Drummond, Scott Barrett and Codie Taylor in the run-on side to face the Drua.

More Stories