October 22, 2021
Despite being the youngest player in the Fijian Drua squad, Papua New Guinea-born Naitasiri forward Chris Minimbi aims to make a huge impact in Super Rugby Pacific next year.
The 21-year-old told FijiLive that his rugby journey began with Marist Brothers High School during the Deans Rugby Competition at the age of 18.
He later joined the Fiji Rugby union High Performance Unit under Bill Gadolo and Kele Leawere which saw him earn a spot in the Fiji U20 team to the Junior World Championship in Argentina.
He said joining the Fijian Drua at a young age is a huge opportunity for him to grow, learn and experience playing at world stage with strong teams like Crusaders, Chiefs, Hurricanes, Reds and others.
“I was contacted and was beyond happy to receive the news, and I knew it was a huge opportunity that I couldn't miss.”
“I knew I needed to take up this opportunity because the key was in my hand and the door was right in front of me. I just had to put the key in the door and that’s what I did. I said yes and got a contract.”
“I've been in the Naitasiri setup for the past few years and I've been lucky enough to get regular game time. Naitasiri is a great team, with a great supporter base and winning the Farebrother earlier this year was definitely a highlight.”
“I received questions from people that my age is not equal to having the experience to get into Drua but that does not deter me from giving my best. I feel that my age is best to grow and take the much needed exposure I always wanted.”
“I'm very honoured to play amongst some of the brightest talents we have here in Fiji. I see this as a great opportunity to grow and learn, and also to not let my age be an obstacle to me but a motivation to do my best and showcase what I can be capable of,” Minimbi explained.
The University of the South Pacific Mechanical Engineering student said aggression is his strength while he feels there is huge need to bring improvement in his game.
He says more game time in the training ahead of the Super Rugby Competition will make him more knowledgeable and experienced.
“I think that's more for others to say. But I try my best to be physical and bring aggression to my team. Also I ask a lot of questions when I don't know something or am unsure and I think that is strength.”
“I believe I can improve in every aspect and there is always room for improvement on and off the field. But I believe this opportunity with the Drua can help me grow in all of these areas.”
“I think my size sort of dictated what sport I would take up in high school. I enjoy it as well. I like the team environment of rugby, and the high octane pace and physicality of the game.”
“Obviously, using the Talents God gave me and glorifying him as our creator is a big part. My family, my teammates and especially my mum are also very important to me.”
“It is an absolute honour and privilege to be a part of Fiji’s pioneer group to take part in such a globally esteemed competition and to compete against such well-established and respected teams, and I cannot be thankful enough,” he added.
By Romeka Romena