Editorial comment | Simply the best!
4 June, 2023, 2:17 pm
What a beauty that was! What a game! And the Queensland Reds would have been reminded very early on that they were in for the game of their lives, and a taste of Fijian passion.
The fans lapped up the moment, and lived a dream on a great day for rugby. The skies had opened up on Friday night. It rained heavily throughout the night in the Capital City of Suva.
It rained yesterday morning. And just like that, the rain turned into intermittent bouts of light showers before the calm that enveloped the National Stadium at game time.
It was a perfect setting, almost as if it was part of the script for the evening. What a perfect day for a perfect moment in our rugby history.
The Reds, brimming with Australian Wallabies hit a brickwall, going down to the Drua 17-41.
It was a powerful statement by the Drua, one that was endorsed by the 16th player, the fans. Magical! Just magical.
You had to be at the National Stadium to feel the magical atmosphere. Locked 17-17 at the breather, the Drua consolidated their dominance in the second spell.
At the end of the exciting clash, they dominated territory and possession, and had 11 entries into the Reds’ 22m zone against the visitors’ five.
It was another powerful statement that would have rattled the visitors and sent a warning to the big guns in the competition.
A weakness exploited by the Blues, the Brumbies and Moana, our maul defence was obviously addressed by the coaches.
The Drua were strong in the lineouts, came off with some strong scrums, and a better co-ordinated defence against the rolling maul.
It was an amazing turnaround. Sometimes fans will just have to have faith in decisions by coach Mick Byrne.
He had two play-makers in Teti Tela and Caleb Muntz, and the option to place some of the forwards at midfield at lineout time meant the Reds were expected to defend against hard running frontrowers and backrowers up the middle, stretching their resources across field.
The Drua conceded less penalties and less turnovers against a very strong Reds. And the fans loved it.
They know how to celebrate, and it looked like one big party throughout the second spell.
They danced to the music booming over the crispy clear sound system during breaks, and stayed back to savour and be blown away by the sounds of the late Tina Turner as she belted out ‘Simply the best’.
This was one moment that would rival any sporting achievement by a local team. In just our second season, we are through to the top eight! We are through to the quarters in New Zealand next week.
While there were many heroes for the Drua, Muntz was different at flyhalf. He passed when he needed to, instinctively held back passes under heavy traffic, and threw some telling cut out passes when he sensed a gap opening up.
He added a valuable kicking game to our arsenal. Upfront, that try by blindside flanker Joseva Tamani was a blinder.
And that moment after touchdown was emotional. He looked up to the skies, and rubbed his left chest! What a man! What a player!
But you really could not fault any Drua player last night. They were all simply the best! Toso Drua, toso! The hard work continues. There can be no rest for the brave!