‘Most joyous victory’

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Fijian Drua co-captain, Meli Derenalagi Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

“PROBABLY the most joyous victory I was involved in.”

This was how Swire Shipping Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne described his sides’s pulsating performance against the Crusaders.

The Fijian Drua defeated a star-studded Crusaders side that included a number of All Blacks players by 25-24 last Saturday at Churchill Park in Lautoka.

“I was jumping around like a kid getting his best Christmas present and I was happy for everybody,” Byrne said of his reaction at the final whistle.

“Both our players and staff worked really hard, plus our fans came in full support.” He said it was a morale booster knowing that the fans had high expectations of the team.

“It gives us great confidence.” Byrne said players such as backrow forward Joseva Tamani proved their worth through sheer hard work in order to get into the starting line-up. Tamani also went over the line in the 60th minute to extend the Drua’s lead.

“Big Jo (Tamani) has worked hard in pre-season and he has certainly worked harder then he did during last year’s pre-season and full credit goes to him,” Byrne said.

“We talked about things happening to players who worked hard and they get rewarded.”

When asked on Tuesday whether Ratu Meli Derenalagi, who replaced Elia Canakaivata in the 56th minute during the Crusaders clash, would be considered for the starting line-up against the Queensland Reds this Sunday, Byrne said “he played last week and if there is no injuries, he will be up for selection.”

Derenalagi was named captain of the side and will play at number eight against the Reds.

The Fijian Drua face the Queensland Reds at Suncorp Stadium tomorrow.

Kick off is at 5pm (Fiji time).

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