Fijian Drua lay out the law on future recruitment policy
Fijian Drua CEO Mark Evans has revealed the Super Rugby Pacific franchise has already filled its squad for next season’s campaign and have turned away interest from overseas based Fijian players.
While Epeli Momo is returning after a three-year stint with Pro D2 club Montauban, other players operating in foreign competitions will have to wait another year for the chance to join the Drua squad.
Evans confirmed the franchise was hoping to bring more Fijian players back from Japan and Europe, however, the 37 man squad was already completed with six players from the development squad moving up to senior level. The Drua have made a successful impact on and off the pitch and Evans, the former Harlequins and Saracens director of rugby, told local media: “We are pretty much done with our recruitment for next year.
“We want to improve the players we have and pick up those players who we feel have growth. There is a lot of value when players get used to each other — having the continuity and patterns of play. We are always looking for Fijian qualified players, whether in Super Rugby Pacific or other competitions in Europe or Japan.
“We will try to bring few back from France and we are starting to have conversations where players are calling from Europe wanting to come play for the Drua. We have told them that we have no spots left, because we are filled for next year and maybe they should communicate for the 2025 season.
“We know the types of players we are after, and we are also aware that we have to develop our own plus also keep looking for value. The easiest way to improve the squad is to get better players or make the one’s you got, better.
“Six guys who were in development this year are going to be in the main 37-member squad for next year. I think we are a better team than we were last year and if we keep on doing this every year, then we will turn into a pretty powerful organization.
“The response from the business community in Fiji to the Drua has been just fantastic. Everybody said this could not work in Fiji and there wasn’t a big enough economy, not enough people.
“Of course, we needed some assistance in the early years, because start-ups are hard but commercially, we have been pretty good. We still have a long way to go but we are getting better, and the franchise just needs to be consistently doing what we have been right across the board.”
The Drua need a home win against the Queensland Reds in Suva on Saturday to keep alive their hopes of a historic finals appearance.
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