14-man Marist edged Suva Grammar School 9-8 in slippery conditions at Churchill Park in Lautoka tonight to claim the coveted Deans trophy, ending their 44-year drought.
Team manager Tagimoucia Kuboutawa said it was the coach and players’ doing.
“I thank the coaches. They just gave them a hard talk about the places they were lagging behind, so when they came out in the second half, they came out hungry for that win,” she said.
“Even with being a man down, we did not lose hope. The boys had been camping for some time, so they had developed that brotherhood and trust within themselves. We lost some of our first choice players, and had to call up reserves including Imanueli, Jason Molia and Joseph Daniels who had not played throughout the season, so everybody just trusted each other, said, ‘I am my brothers keeper’ and that was it.
“We give back the glory to the man above. Its a family spirit where everyone just come together and help one another. When it came to the Deans quarterfinals, we qualified as third seeds, and we had the coaches from the lower grades helping us out, so with us, its a family spirit. Our sons have proven themselves today, that it was through God that we managed to do this, and I thank Suva Grammar School for displaying a good game, but we are so happy that we taking back the Deans to the southern zone this year.”
The last time Marist won the Fiji Secondary School Rugby Union Championship was in 1978 when it drew with Ratu Kadavulevu School.
In defeating the southern zone champs Suva Grammar today, Marist completed their conquest of all zone champions this season following their victories over RKS and Ba Pro in the Deans quarterfinal and semifinals respectively.
Scoring Sequence (Marist scores shown first):
PEN GOAL, Marist Brandon Saun – 3-0
TRY, SGS, Gabriel Simpson, conversion Laisiasa Luke (missed) – 3-5
PEN GOAL, Marist Saun – 6-5
PEN GOAL, SGS Meli Pasi -6-8
PEN GOAL, Marist Saun (missed) – 6-8
PEN GOAL, Marist Josua Uakula – 9-8