Response: ‘I have never seen such an attempt in my entire career’

The Chiefs had an all-out run against Super Rugby Pacific’s top four finishers and a tough finishing Fijian Drew to secure the home quarter-finals.

In front of the home crowd, the Fijians scored three goals in the last eight minutes but fell behind 35-34. Players on both sides then joined arms in a circle and sang together, sealing the first season of Drua in an epic contest and super rugby.

While this was going on, Chiefs captain Brad Weber was kindly applauding his hosts and warning that the team that would probably finish 11th would be a bigger force with more games to come in the coming years. This season, Fiji has only played twice on home soil and was at NSW.

Chiffra was cruising for a 20-minute game before the hosts staged a spectacular comeback that shook Weber.

“I thought we played our one and only prison-free card against the rebels a few weeks ago – it turns out we got two,” Weber said.

“It simply came to our notice then. Hats off to the Drua, the last 10 to 15 minutes they were incredible. I have never seen such a score in my entire career. It seems incredibly lucky to come out.

“They were great tonight, I feel for them because in a fun way they probably deserved it

“They had everything, they had all the speed and we finally made that one play and I’m proud of the boys.”

Weber said it would be a testing ground for future teams.

“It’s their first season and you see the kind of rugby they’re playing,” Weber said. “It shows that they have made the right decision to bring them into the competition and in a few years it is going to be a very difficult place to play – especially for the New Zealand team at this time of year.

“It’s about one degree this morning in Hamilton. Come here and it’s about 30 degrees and a pile of moisture. “

Like the other times in their first season, the Fijians had to pay the price for a bad mistake and the final game saw them go too close to the sidelines and they overcame it when they threatened a famous victory.

The result puts the Chiefs in third place behind Brumbis, who will reclaim that spot after Saturday’s win over Moana Pacifica.

Drew coach Mick Byron says his team came into the season due to a lack of fitness needed to make an impact at the table, but they won’t have that excuse next year, when more home matches will give them a huge boost in the face of their enthusiastic and noisy support. .

“It simply came to our notice then. Half the time we were sitting there, with ice towels on their heads, and I couldn’t be more proud of them for ending up like this.

“We knew once we got home we would be with our family friends and that was going to be a big difference and now we are waiting for the next season and bringing it to Fiji for half the season.

“It’s frustrating that we didn’t get it across the line for them.”

The hosts gifted the Chiefs an attempt in the second half – which made the difference with an erratic attempt to stop a ball from sailing which was recovered and an attempt from Emoni Narawa in the 52nd minute that made the game look like ice.

“Throughout the year we have worked hard to get the clinical part of our game right,” Byrne said.

“We finally saw that we can throw the ball around and we can do it. We will continue to work on our strength and conditioning.

“Our boys came, they haven’t played since October 2020. They knew they weren’t fit enough for Super Rugby but they eventually got there. It’s a big area of ​​improvement and I’m really looking forward to seeing this team when they will be super rugby fit. “

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