The story of Fijian Drua lock Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta meeting his father for the first time ever is a tale of how great the rugby brotherhood is. It was Tuesday and Eroni Cirikidaveta was walking past the Holiday Inn in Suva. He noticed a large crowd outside the hotel.
Curious, he asked what the ruckus was about. He was told that the Fijian Drua were staying at the hotel. He froze. He realised that his son who he had never seen, was there. He had only seen his son play on television and now was the moment he had waited for all his life.
Cirikidaveta used to point him out to family and friends when watching the game on the box. He had never thought he would be able to meet him. The man from Nabaitavo in the province of Naitasiri waited outside when he saw a familiar face. It was Manasa Saulo, the Drua tighthead prop.
Speaking to him in his native Naitasiri dialect, Cirikidaveta requested Saulo and halfback Peni Matawalu pass his well wishes on to his son.
It was then when the duo asked the father to come with them and made him wait in the conference room. No words were ushered at first when father and son met. The two hugged and finally Te said; “I missed you Dad.” The senior of the man just kept saying: “My son, my son.”
Tears rolled down as the two met for the first time and while it is coincidental, it is the power of the brotherhood in rugby. Cirikidaveta had to leave New Zealand when his partner Vicky Nanuku was still pregnant and never had the opportunity to meet his son, but he never forgot him.
And Te’s mother made sure she told her son about his Fijian heritage. The lock forward stands at a height of 1.94 metres and weighs 110 kilograms. Te said it was always his aim to play in Super Rugby and to play for the Drua was the best thing that could have had happened to him.
This Saturday, Te will have a reason to look into the crowd and for the first time in his life, his father will be watching from the sidelines.
The Fijian Drua host their first game on home soil this Saturday at 4.35pm.