A landmark win over Crusaders for the new boys

It had been predicted that as soon as the Fijian Drua got a proper home schedule, they'd be a much more difficult side to beat.

The Crusaders found that out the hard way on an absolute sweaty armpit of a day in Lautoka during this weekend's round of Super Rugby Pacific, losing on the last kick of a game they really had no right to win anyway.

This weekend has seen some very good rugby, but it belongs to the Drua. They've delivered on their promise to play an up-tempo style throughout their time in Super Rugby so far and nearly pulled off a couple of upsets last season.

But this win was built on a strong set piece, the skills that only Fijians seem to possess and a fervent crowd that roared them home.

Oh, and overcoming the fact that they forgot to start anyone who could kick goals.

RNZ reports Teti Tela had the sort of day with the boot that made you wonder if he'd been at the pub all morning, and it looked like his missed conversions would cost the Drua a famous win as Fergus Burke nailed one from the sideline to put the Crusaders in front with two minutes to play.

Then came one of the most nerve-racking debuts of all time as the Drua brought on Kemu Valetini (brother of Wallaby number eight Rob) to make his first contribution in Super Rugby: a shot at goal to win the game after the Crusaders infringed immediately off the kickoff.

OK, it was about the easiest kick you could get, but that's still some pressure entrance into the big time.

It would have been an injustice if the Crusaders had won off the back of three boring lineout drive tries and only a hint of the endeavour that they're capable of. They were stitched up a bit due to having to rest some of their All Blacks but that's not much of an excuse given the talent they possess to fill the gaps.

But the reason why this is such a special win isn't just because the Drua beat the team that no one likes, it's because this is what happens when you give Pacific Island rugby a proper opportunity to compete. Long may it continue.


Photo Fijian Drua Facebook