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Drua set Super Rugby Pacific sights high after Fiji's World Cup campaign

By Chris Jones
Fijian Drua celebrate after a try during the round three Super Rugby Pacific match between Fiji Drua and Crusaders at Churchill Park, on March 11, 2023, in Lautoka, Fiji. (Photo by Pita Simpson/Getty Images)

Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne has warned Super Pacific Rugby opponents that his team are only going to get better after reaching the knockout stages for the first time last season.

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Fiji’s eye catching performances at the Rugby World Cup in France with a squad dominated by Drua players has served to reinforce his view that this could be an even better season with the team able to enjoy another seven home games in front of their passionate fans.

Byrne, whose team lost to eventual champions Crusaders in the quarter-finals, told FijiLive: “The expectations are on us to improve in 2024. While we get better, our opponents are getting better as well and we have to improve more. Our possession has been really good and the Flying Fijians have come back [from the World Cup] as leaders within the programme. We are setting our targets on getting to the next step [in Super Pacific Rugby] and aiming for a home quarter-final.

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“The match in Christchurch against the 12 time Super champions Crusaders was a big learning opportunity and gave us a good insight for the next season. Our belief has always been that we are good enough but we had to build confidence and belief within our camp. When we started our journey for 2023 there were questions about whether we could compete at the top end of Super Rugby.”

Byrne believes the time he has spent getting to know the players and the country has helped him understand the particular pressures and expectation on the Drua squad and added: “Living in Fiji and understanding village life and what rugby means here has been humbling. We don’t shy away from the responsibility that comes with it.

“It is more than the game – it’s about the people and everything you do.”

The Fijian Drua will again play their seven home games in Fiji with their first round of the competition taking them away to the Blues on February 24. The first home game of the new season is a blockbuster fixture against champions the Crusaders on March 9 at Lautoka.

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