The Fiji Times

Huge honour for prop

- By RODNEY DUTHIE in France

FIJIAN Drua prop Emosi Tuqiri says he is looking forward to doing the hard yards and earning his first Test cap as a Flying Fijian.

Tuqiri arrived at the team base camp here in Bordeaux, France on Wednesday after answering an SOS call as a replacemen­t for an injured fellow Drua club member Jone Koroiduadu­a.

“I’m grateful to the coaching staff and the Lord Almighty for giving me the opportunit­y. First day in camp and the boys have been very welcoming,” the 22-year-old said.

“Now the real work starts and I’m just ready to put my head down and do what I can for the team.”

Earlier this week, Tuqiri from Namatakula in Nadroga, said he was overwhelme­d by the call-up to join the team in France.

“It’s a huge honour. I cried last night after talking to my family. There’s a lot done in the past. It’s now time for me to make my own name and continue the legacy,” he said.

“I’ve always backed myself after not getting picked the first time. I was really dedicated to planning for the year ahead. I went back home to Brisbane and set my goals, didn’t stop training.

“I’m just looking forward to learning off the best in the world and picking the brains of the senior players in the side who are playing abroad.”

He said he would take the opportunit­y with both hands and work hard.

Drua head coach Mick Byrne said while the injury was disappoint­ing news for Koroiduadu­a, this was an opportunit­y for Tuqiri to prove himself for selection.

“This is good for another Drua player, Emosi.

“He came back early two to three weeks earlier and started training, and now he has gotten himself in a position where he’s been called up, and I think it’s a great opportunit­y for him and we wish him well,” Byrne said.

Koroiduadu­a played two Test matches for the Flying Fijians, against France and England before travelling with the team to the RWC team base camp in Bordeaux. He was injured during a team training run.

He is the second player to be ruled out following an ACL injury to fly-half Caleb Muntz before the start of the RWC.

Muntz was replaced by Vilimoni Botitu.

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 ?? Picture: FIJI RUGBY ?? Flying Fijians Josua Tuisova (left) and Luke Tagi during training in France.
Picture: FIJI RUGBY Flying Fijians Josua Tuisova (left) and Luke Tagi during training in France.
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 ?? Picture: FIJIAN DRUA ?? Emosi Tuqiri.
Picture: FIJIAN DRUA Emosi Tuqiri.

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