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'Really gaining momentum now': Fijian Drua confirm 6 more signings

By Sam Smith
Kaliopasi Uluilakepa (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

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Fijian Drua, the new Super Rugby Pacific franchise, had continued their recruitment drive ahead of the maiden 2022 campaign by confirming the names of the latest six players to sign up to play for head coach Mick Byrne’s new team. Two more sets of players will be added next week.

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The latest new additions are Northland’s Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, the ex-Fijian and New Zealand age-group prop who spent some time at the Hurricanes, ex-NRC Drua centre Apisalome Vota, 2016 Rio Olympics Fiji 7s gold medallist Kitione Taliga, Fiji U20s lock Isoa Nasilasila, Nadroga flanker Rusiate Nasove and Sydney University second-rower Ratu Leone Rotuisolia.

Interim CEO Brian Thorburn said: “We are really gaining momentum now as we announce Fijian Drua players 17 through 22. Fans will again notice a strong focus on our young stars coming through our highly efficient domestic high-performance pathways, something we at the Drua and Fiji rugby are very proud of. 

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“Fans will also note the return of former NRC Drua players. Many of the players know each other and other members of the wider squad, which is always a plus. Kaliopasi is an outstanding addition to the Fijian Drua and we are delighted to welcome him back into our vuvale. 

“He is already well known in Fiji as a school shot putt record holder and has played alongside other Fijian Drua squad members for Marist Brothers High School team. 

“We are very proud to confirm that Kaliopasi has declared his eligibility for Fiji and the Flying Fijians. This is one of the key objectives of the Fijian Drua and a massive boost for our national side. We can’t wait to watch this 22-year old showcase his prowess in Super Rugby.

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“It is equally great to see 2016 Olympics gold medallist Kitione Taliga work his way into the squad, having previously featured for the NRC outfit in 2018. Kitione is a two-time HSBC World Rugby Sevens series winner with the Fijian 7s. He brings in experience from his time at Stade Français in the top tier of France’s Top 14 competition. Fijian fans are well aware of his creativity on the park as a fly-half, full-back or backline utility.”

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