"We know he'll do something crazy": Flying Filipo and the most electric feet in Australian rugby

NRC
by Sam Phillips

Duncan Paiaaua takes great comfort when opposition teams clear the ball and it heads in Filipo Daugunu's direction.

Some of his teammates are so confident the softly spoken Fijian flyer will make a break that they stop up ahead and wait for Daugunu to split the line.

Paiaaua's confidence is justified.

Daugunu leads all comers with 35 defenders beaten this season and has set up try after try for his teammates with scintillating counter attacking breaks.

"It's awesome having someone like Filipo in the team," Paiaaua told RUGBY.com.au.

"He's one of those guys that you just want to give the ball to and let him do his thing.

"Every time teams kick at him we are cheering.

"We just know he is going to do something crazy.

"Sometimes when the boys kick it back to him a few of the boys are already there waiting for him to make a break."


English isn't Daugunu's first language and that has made communication on field even more of a premium for Country.

It takes little more than a wink and a nod for Paiaaua to know when and where Daugunu wants the ball.

"We've got certain words when he wants something," Paiaaua said.

"If he wants a kick or a pass we know how to tell each other.

"We really understand each other's game having played with Country all last year, the Reds and then back to Country.

"With the skill set he has I think he can dominate any competition in the world."

That's the next challenge for Daugunu.

While he's carved the NRC up in consecutive seasons taking the consistency to Super Rugby level is another matter entirely.

Daugunu believes he's good enough to do that but only if the likes of Paiaaua and Chris Feauai-Sautia are playing inside him.

"I'm lucky to have talented players like Duncan and Chris to play with," Daugunu told RUGBY.com.au.

"If they are around the field I think we do best and I know we can win.


"If they didn't play with me in the game I don't feel like playing the game.

"It has been a pleasure for me and I believe we can win it again."

Both Daugunu and Paiaaua are integral to Country's title defence.

The pair are the heart of the team's attack and they will be playing for one of the team's long serving stalwarts - James Slipper - on Sunday.

"He's always bringing energy at training and during the game," Daugunu said.

"It might be the last time we play together now with him going down to Canberra.

"I like playing with him and he's going to be missed."

Paiaaua echoed the sentiment and put back-to-back titles on the agenda, too.

"The boys want to play for each other and we don't want this to be our last game of the season," he said.

"Going back-to-back would be a massive accomplishment for Queensland rugby and for Country rugby.

"That's all we're focused on at the moment."