Meli has much-needed X-Factor
Southern Kings coach Deon Davids admits Fijian flyer makes him nervous at times
Exasperated Isuzu Southern Kings head coach Deon Davids has admitted that talented Fijian flyer Meli Rokoua is capable of giving him grey hairs.
The bustling centre has played a pivotal role in two down-to-the-wire Guinness PRO14 clashes over the past two weeks.
“You have to accept that when you have those type of players like Meli in your team they will give you grey hair in certain sections of the game. That is something we have to live with,” Davids said.
When the Kings upset Edinburgh two weeks ago, it was the powerful Fijian who broke free before providing an acrobatic layoff which allowed Yaw Penxe to sprint 55 metres for a match winning try.
Then, on Saturday in Bloemfontein against the Cheetahs, there was another flamboyant layoff which once allowed Penxe to race in for another spectacular try.
Earlier in the game Rokoua was yellow carded by referee Stuart Berry for a dangerous and high tackle on Benhard Janse van Rensburg. Rokoua was also involved in a clash of heads which left him bloodied.
“Meli has got a lot of potential and I won’t be too hard on him on this showing against the Cheetahs,” Davids said.
“Maybe he was a bit over-excited in one or two situations. I feel he has the vital X-factor that you sometimes need in a team to spark something from nothing.
“He did it against Edinburgh and he did it against the Cheetahs and he sparked our late comeback. When he arrived in Port Elizabeth Rokoua said he loved running at pace with ball in hand against the opposition.
“My move to the Kings is a big challenge and I am looking forward to it. This is a very big opportunity for me,” he said.
“The coaching here is at another level and it is a good environment to be in. I have watched PRO14 on television, but this will be a big challenge. I have to bring my game to this tournament.
“My favourite position is outside centre. I like attacking and I enjoy running with the ball. I also pride myself on my defence and getting into contact,” he said. “Now I want to adapt to the systems and structures here at the Kings.
“I spent two seasons in Portugal and enjoyed it there. The standard was of a high level.”
The Kings have a bye this weekend before they face Munster in Cork on February 15. After his recent showings, Davids will be looking for more of the Rokoua X-factor against European opposition.