Fijian rugby captain Waisea Nayacalevu has been one of the standout stars at the Rugby World Cup 2023.
Leading his country to the quarterfinals, Nayacalevu has been instrumental as a player and an influential leader for the Pacific Island team.
Having all but booked their place in the knockout rounds with a first victory over Australia in 69 years, followed by a win over Georgia. The pressure was relatively minimal on the Fijians in their final pool match against an ever-improving Portuguese team.
Needing just one match point to guarantee qualification, the Fijians struggled to hit the heights that they had shown in their opening three fixtures.
Trailing for most of the fixture, it appeared they may fall outside of the minimum one-point territory.
Yet, in a quick ten-minute flurry, things all changed as they surged into a six-point lead with less than five minutes to play.
A Lapse In Concentration
Now seemingly home and dry, Fiji once again took the foot off the pedal.
This lapse in concentration would prove costly as the impressive Portuguese wingers Raffaele Storti and Rodrigo Marta combined to bring Portugal within one point.
With the weight of the world on his shoulders, Portugal’s veteran scrumhalf Samuel Marques slotted the conversion to seal a famous first-ever Rugby World Cup victory for the Portuguese.
As the Portuguese celebrations raged on, Fiji appeared dejected and exhausted.
This frustration was palpable as head coach Simon Raiwalui and Nayacalevu took to the podium for the post-match press conference.
Following a round of rather routine questions, the duo stood up to leave the podium.
With one final whisper, Nayacalevu could be heard whispering into the mic “Dou veicai ga” which in his native i-taukei means “F*** you all”.
Whilst there can be no doubt, dealing with the media must be a tiresome exercise for players, in particular after a tough loss. The captain’s outburst was rather strange and seemingly out of character for one of the game’s most respected captains.