Nevers player Josaia Raisuqe has revealed he was afraid of losing his job after picking up referee Laurent Millotte in celebration.
The Fijian flyer made the questionable choice of picking up the referee after his club Nevers defeated Beziers in a recent ProD2 match.
Raisuqe was sent off for his celebration, despite the game being over, leaving Nevers head coach Xavier Pameja dismayed by his winger’s silly actions.
Le joueur Josaia Raisuqe célèbre la victoire en mode “Roi Lion” en soulevant l’arbitre du match 😅🦁
Une célébration sanctionnée d’un carton rouge 🟥 pic.twitter.com/acpsQdRFnT
— Rugby PRO D2 (@rugbyprod2) January 8, 2021
The excitable winger became a bit of an internet sensation in the aftermath of his celebration, but was worried that his employers at Nevers would fail to see the funny side of his actions.
“The day after the game, when I woke up, it was all over the internet. I was completely overwhelmed by the event. On Instagram and Facebook, I had hundreds of posts. My phone kept ringing. It was unbearable.
“I was scared. I was afraid the leaders of Nevers would be angry. I was afraid of losing my job. I thought to myself that maybe what I had done was serious.
“It was just a way of expressing my joy. We had just won in Béziers, the performance was good, I was excited.
“I was happy, that’s all: in Pro D2 it’s hard to win away from home. At the time, I did not calculate anything. At the end of the match the first person I saw was the referee and I lifted him up, that’s all. It was awkward but I didn’t mean to hurt him! I was just happy!” Raisuqe told Midi Olympique.
‘There was no aggressiveness in my gesture’
The former Fiji sevens player explained how he would like to apologise referee for picking him up in ‘Lion King’ style, insisting that there was no malice behind his actions.
“I would have liked to tell him that I was sorry, that there was no aggressiveness in my gesture… I would have liked to tell him that at home, rugby is just a game and that we appreciate it differently, that’s all.”
“I know that I should not have behaved this way,” Raisuqe explained.
While the winger is now facing a potential ban for the incident, he can at least take comfort from knowing that his antics will likely go down as the celebration of the year.