Fiji halfback Frank Lomani joins Drua ahead of relocated Rebels match
Although only three rounds in, the clash looms as an important one for both teams who are eager to bank their first win after one-sided losses so far.
The only winless Australian team, the Rebels suffered another blow on Tuesday with Wallabies back Reece Hodge suspended for the match while the Drua had some good news with Fiji international and former Melbourne halfback Frank Lomani joining their side.
A flooded Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane prompted the Fijian outfit to shift their maiden ‘home’ game to Sunshine Coast Stadium.
They have also been forced to train indoors with heavy rain falling around their Lennox Heads base, but coach Mick Byrne said they would be ready for the Rebels.
“We’re expecting a very physical game – the Rebels will come after us up front like all teams,” Byrne said on Tuesday.
“They play a physical game, the forward pack is well coached and there’s some players in there that I know a lot about that I know how hard they work – they’ll be coming in full steam ahead.”
Both teams have been starved of tries, and Byrne, who was a former skills coach for the Wallabies, said he hoped to see his team put some scoreboard pressure on Melbourne.
“Our defence has been asked lots of questions by the opposition and it’s time that we turned around and asked the opposition defence a number of questions and that’s what we’re focusing on this week,” he said.
“We need to make sure that we turn up and perform to our best and when we do that we’re going to be competitive.”
Lomani, who has been playing with Northampton in the UK, links with the team this week but won’t be available for the Rebels match.
“It’s great to have Frank join us, as it’s been well documented we missed out on a number of overseas players earlier in the season with the delay in being able to get our license through,” Byrne said.
“He’s had a Super rugby experience and he’ll add some another voice into our leadership around the ground.
“With our existing halfbacks he’ll be able to provide some great experience to them to learn from as well.”
Anyone who purchased tickets to the game in Brisbane will be refunded, with tickets for the game at Sunshine Coast Stadium to cost $20, with children under 16 free.
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