Fiji Airways Drua loosehead prop Eroni Mawi believes playing this weekend’s opening NRC match against the Melbourne Rising at Ratu Cakobau Park in front of a home crowd is a great motivator to perform.
The Naitasiri forward, who made his debut for the Flying Fijians in this year’s Pacific Nations Cup, is honoured and blessed for the chance to represent Fiji with his friends and family in the crowd.
“I want to thank Almighty God for giving me this talent to play Rugby, and give thanks for the honour to be chosen this weekend” he said
“There is a huge responsibility for the boys to play in front of a home crowd because Fijians always want to win, and I know the boys are willing to perform for them.”
Lining up alongside the experienced Luke Tagi and fellow Fiji Airways Flying Fijian Veremalua Vugakoto, Mawi is not intimidated by facing the Rising forward pack including Wallabies and Rebels forwards Jermaine Ainsley, Sam Talakai and Anaru Rangi.
“Our motivation is always with us, we are determined to put in the hard work, and we know what we have to do”.
“For me my motivation is from home. When I think of my family, my country, you have to stay motivated, not just during the game, but also for the journey”
Facing an opposition renowned for their set piece finesse, Assistant Coach Brad Harris says he is pleased by the work his side is putting into the scrum and line out coming into Saturday.
“We’ve seen across the year the strength of the Flying Fijians scrum, and with many of the young forwards from there in this team, we’re showing good progress again in that area” he said.
“We know the Rising will be strong in their set piece and we’ll continue to work on our line out towards the weekend and throughout the campaign.”
As the side put’s its finishing touches on preparations for the first whistle, Harris is also pleased by the energy and dynamic amongst the team, as pressure intensifies.
“There’s always a nervous energy this close to the first game”
“We’ve had some good meetings, we’ll polish up a few things, but I think the touch of nervous energy around the group is a good thing, it means they’re getting ready.”