Olympic champions and test stars named in Fijian Drua pre-season side
Olympic gold medallists, Fijian internationals and a Kiwi playmaker have all been named to start for the Fijian Drua in their final pre-season hit out of the year.
The Drua travel to Melbourne to face the Rebels on Thursday in what will be their first external pre-season fixture following their internal match last weekend.
In preparation for their season-opener, head coach Mick Byrne has named an extended squad to play the Rebels, featuring a 16-man reserves list.
Blindside flanker Meli Derenalagi is also a notable inclusion given his status as a gold medal-winner with the national Fijian sevens side at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.
Derenalagi’s fellow Olympic champion Napolioni Bolaca has also been included on the bench, but has missed a place in the starting lineup to New Zealand first-five Baden Kerr, who is the only non-Fijian player in the Drua squad.
The trip to Melbourne will be a return of sorts for two Drua players, with right wing Kitione Ratu a former member of the Rebels squad, while reserve flanker Joseva Tamani played for the Melbourne Rising in Australia’s NRC three years ago.
Kick-off for the match between the Drua and Rebels is scheduled for 6pm local time at Harlequin Rugby Club in Ashwood.
Fijian Drua team to play the Melbourne Rebels
1. Jone Koroiduadua
2. Tevita Ikanivere
3. Samu Tawake
4. Ratu Rotuisolia
5. Isoa Nasilasila
6. Meli Derenalagi
7. Kitione Salawa
8. Nemani Nagusa (c)
9. Simi Kuruvoli
10. Baden Kerr
11. Vinaya Habosi
12. Kalaveti Ravouvou
13. Apisalome Vota
14. Kitione Ratu
15. Selestino Ravutaumada
Reserves: Mesu Dolokoto, Timoci Sauvoli, Manasa Saulo, Chris Mnimbi, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Peni Matawalu, Caleb Muntz, Serupepeli Vularika, Napolioni Bolaca, Rusiate Nasove, Joseva Tamani, Sorovakatini Tuifaglele, Viliame Rarasea, Leone Nawai, Vilive Miramira, Jone Tiko.
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