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Fijian Drua defeat Melbourne Rebels in final pre-season match

By AAP
(Photo by Darrian Traynor/Getty Images)

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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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