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Fijian Drua defeat Melbourne Rebels in final pre-season match

By AAP
(Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

Fijian Drua have given Melbourne rugby fans a sneak peek of what to expect in the Super Rugby Pacific competition, beating the Rebels 28-26 in a warmup match on Thursday night.

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The Drua came from behind in the four-tries apiece thriller at Harlequin Rugby Club in their first and only hit out before taking on the NSW Waratahs in their historic season opener in Parramatta on February 18.

The Fijians opened the scoring inside two minutes through international hooker Tevita Ikanivere and Kiwi five-eighth Baden Kerr converted.

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After conceding an intercept try, the Drua retook the lead with winger Kitione Ratu scoring under the posts for 14-7, before Melbourne scored three unanswered tries to take a 24-14 advantage into the final third of the contest.

But the hosts couldn’t hang on, Joseva Tamani barged over after strong forward play and winger Vinaya Habosi scored a length of the field try under the sticks to leave Caleb Muntz an easy conversion for the win.

The Drua – who played in the National Rugby Championship before graduating to Super Rugby Pacific – have based themselves on the NSW North Coast to prepare for their competition debut.

Mick Byrne’s side will play ‘home’ games at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium (rounds three and eight), Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval (round five) and Parramatta’s CommBank Stadium (round 13), while also hoping to host in front of their fans in Suva in round 11.

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M
Morne 8 hours ago
Thanks but no thanks, the All Blacks do not need to copy the Boks

Some further observations: Most Rugby lovers I know agree that the AB’s have been the gold standard for as long as anyone can remember - very few people disagree. The odd time that any other team has some sort of ascendency - there are always those (albeit the minority) NZ supporters that need to remind us of the AB’s glorious gold standard that anyone winning them is only down to a mixture of pure luck or some or other sinister reason or bias from match officials (or indeed the Universe). For reasons mentioned above, any other team with some ascendency over the AB’s (even if it is the 1st time in 100 years) may not receive a pat on the back and a well-done - as they only did so out of pure luck. In my opinion, if the Boks were in the same realm as the AB’s SF opponents - they would have been smashed also - whether with 14 or 13 or 12 players. But remember they were just “lucky”. As a Bok supporter, I will say this team has done our proud - despite losing some games along the way. Like the AB’s, the games the boks lose are 9/10 times one score games - this is a long way from hidings like 57 - 0…And in that we must be proud. Most of these type of articles - especially those focusing on the RWC final rather conveniently leave out any mention of Pieter Steph du Toit, or even Eben Etzebeth who won all their collusions all day long. So to those very very few bad loser AB supporters out there (definitely the minority) - I’ll say what you want to hear - the AB’s are without any doubt the best Rugby brand ever. They have consistently achieved what all other teams can only dream of. And no doubt they will scale those heights again. Now what about allowing others the odd ray of sunlight that comes our way?

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