Filipo Daugunu has gone from Fijian soccer hopeful to Wallabies star after helping the Australians to a memorable Bledisloe Cup draw with the All Blacks in Wellington. The 25-year-old scored a crucial try in the 16-all draw to reaffirm Wallabies coach Dave Rennie’s faith in handing him a debut in the cauldron of trans-Tasman rugby.
Carrying on his superb Super Rugby AU form, Daugunu looked right at home at Sky Sports Stadium, keeping pace with fellow Fijian flyer Marika Koroibete, who was Australia’s other tryscorer.
Daugunu finished with a 108 metres from 11 runs, which was 44 more metres than any other player on the field.
His four tackles busts was also an equal game-high.
“He’s going to get better and better – he’s a great athlete.
“He’s an aggressive tackler and is great post-tackle so it’s exciting.”
Daugunu represented Fiji in under-age soccer teams, while also played rugby and decided to make it his code of choice in his switch to Australia in 2016.
He earned a Super Rugby contract in 2018 but only managed seven games last year after breaking his arm.
But this season Daugunu was the leading try scorer in Super Rugby AU, and led the competition in runs, run metres, tackle busts, offloads and had the equal most line-breaks.
Poor Nigel described it as a 'nightmare' ?https://t.co/zaDSPpgeZp
— RugbyPass (@RugbyPass) October 11, 2020
Australia’s other debutants also impressed, with No.6 Harry Wilson and outside centre Hunter Paisami also getting a Bledisloe Cup chance after big seasons with the Reds.
“Harry, I thought was really strong, and Hunter had a great game for a young man who wasn’t even sure if he’d play Super Rugby this year and ended up starting in a Wallabies Test,” Rennie said.
“There was a lot of guys who performed really well and we will build on that.”
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