This new Super Rugby venture is exciting for everyone involved. But for the young men who are training their backsides off, that excitement is met with the fact that there is still a job to be done.
Whatever their profile, whatever they have achieved will mean very little in the cut throat Super Rugby competition.
In the one and a bit seasons Ratu Meli Derenalagi has been on the World Sevens Series, he has been named Rookie of the year, won a Hong Kong title, captained the national Sevens side, been part of a Series victory and at the very top of that mountain, Olympic Gold.Embed from Getty Images
But what lays ahead for Meli and the rest of the Fijian Drua is something else altogether, something completely new. Something that up until 6 months ago was only a dream but not on the horizon.
“I always dreamt that one day I will play Super Rugby. I thank God for the opportunity and the management for trusting me” say’s Derenalagi when I asked him if he ever thought he would play in the Southern Hemisphere’s Premier competition.
A flanker in his earlier days for the Fiji Under 20’s who has been hard at work in the gym building on his 6 foot 3, 97kg frame. “I always play flanker since I started playing rugby“.
Derenalagi is fit, mobile and has an offloading game that could potentially rival some of the best we know. He may have a few kilos to still pack on but the Nawaka native at only 22, has time on his side.
An exciting opportunity for the young man. A chance to line up against some of the best in the world including Wallabies and All-Blacks representatives. Players like Ardie Savea and Michael Hooper.
“First of all I wanna thank the Almighty Lord for giving me the opportunity to show the talent he has given me. What excites me about this opportunity is that I’ll be rubbing shoulders with most of the players I use to watch”.
The mindset he takes into camp is one similar to when he wears the Fiji jersey “My mindset going into camp is that I always told myself to treat every training session as if it’s your last to don that white jersey”.
The Sevens players in the Drua squad present an interesting prospect. How they handle Super Rugby will go a long way in establishing the pathway from Sevens to 15’s. How long the transition will be for forwards especially, if potential prospects should be taken on the Sevens circuit or brought into the mix earlier. The framework for the future of Drua and Flying Fijians pathways will largely depend on the progress of the first few Super Rugby seasons.Embed from Getty Images
This will most benefit young Fijian kids who like Meli, will watch their heroes on tv and aspire to also be rubbing shoulders with some of the players that they’re watching.
“It will motivate them and encourage them that what they’re dreaming can became reality if they work hard n sacrifice for it and serving the almighty”.
Join in the conversation
Tell us what excites you most about the Fijian Drua squad and the new challenges that awaits them. Join in the conversation and leave a comment below.
Dedicated Fijian Drua page
See the depth chart and all the latest with the Fijian Drua in their dedicated page. Click here