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Fijian Drua’s try-scoring whiz Taniela Rakuro named for first start of 2024

By Finn Morton
Taniela Rakuro of the Fijian Drua celebrates after scoring the winning try during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua at Mt Smart Stadium, on February 25, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

After losing to the Chiefs in Hamilton last time out, the Fijian Drua have made four changes to their starting side including the selection of try-scoring machine Taniela Rakuro on the left wing.

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Rakuro was compared to Flying Fijians great Rupeni Caucaunibuca after scoring a headline-grabbing double against the ACT Brumbies during pre-season.

The wing, who scored the match-winner on debut against Moana Pasifika last season, stunned fans and the Brumbies alike with blistering pace and raw strength.

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Rakuro comes into the starting side for the first time this season, with the winger’s only other appearance coming off the pine against the Chiefs – playing just over 20 minutes.

Haereiti Hetet will pack down in an otherwise new-look front-row trio this week with Flying Fijians hooker Tevita Ikanivere and prop Mesake Doge coming into the starting side.

The rest of the run-on side remains unchanged with the only other change coming at inside centre. Apisalome Vota returns to the starting side after wearing the No. 12 jersey in the first three matches this season.

Vota will link up with Iosefo Masi in the midfield. Masi was voted the Fijian Drua’s Fan Player of the Match after the team’s 46-29 defeat to the Chiefs on Saturday.

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With only one win to their name so far this season, the Dura will be desperate to bounce back at Churchill Park as they look to remain within touching distance of the top eight.

The last time they played at the Lautoka venue, the Drua stunned reigning champions the Crusaders at home for the second time in as many years.

Fijian Drua to take on NSW Waratahs

  1. Haereiti Hetet
  2. Tevita Ikanivere
  3. Mesake Doge
  4. Mesake Vocevoce
  5. Leone Rotuisolia
  6. Etonia Waqa
  7. Vilive Miramira
  8. Meli Derenalagi (c)
  9. Simione Kuruvoli
  10. Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula
  11. Taniela Rakuro
  12. Apisalome Vota
  13. Iosefo Masi
  14. Selestino Ravutaumada
  15. Ilaisa Droasese

Reserves

  1. Zuriel Togiatama
  2. Emosi Tuqiri
  3. Samuela Tawake
  4. Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta
  5. Kitione Salawa
  6. Peni Matawalu
  7. Kemu Valetini
  8. Epeli Momo
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Comments

1 Comment
R
Red and White Dynamight 124 days ago

The Drua will only get better and better. Professional coaching; regular matches; player retention and development. Already beaten the Crusaders in Fiji, twice. The sky is the limit. Bula vinaka.

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