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'Story of the year': Fijian Drua's Kiwi scalps justify investment

By Kim Ekin
Taniela Rokouro of Fijian Drua runs with the ball during the round 11 Super Rugby Pacific match between Fijian Drua and Hurricanes at HFC Bank Stadium, on May 6, 2023, in Suva, Fiji. (Photo by Pita Simpson/Getty Images)

The Fijian Drua claimed their second Kiwi scalp in franchise history with a 27-24 win over the Hurricanes at the Suva Sportsground.


In similar fashion to their upset win over the Crusaders, reserve flyhalf Kemu Valetini kicked the winning penalty once again.

After nearly tipping over the Chiefs and Highlanders last year at home, the Drua have stepped up a gear this season.

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Former All Black great Sir John Kirwan said that the success of the Drua is the ‘story of the year’.

“That is the story of the year,” Kirwan told The Breakdown panel.

“Fijian Drua, that is the story of the year.

“They have done exactly what World Rugby and Super Rugby have asked them.

“They’ve established themselves, you do not want to go up there and play.

“They’ve just beaten the Hurricanes, they’ve beaten the Crusaders at home.”

The Drua sit in eighth position on the Super Rugby Pacific ladder with four wins and six losses.


If they can maintain that position or better they will qualify for the play-offs for the first time.

The Rebels, Force, Highlanders and Moana Pasifika sit below the Fijians.

Kirwan said that Moana Pasifika should emulate the Drua by basing themselves in Samoa which would provide a similar advantage.

“For me it’s a massive, massive call out to Moana Pasifika to go back to Apia,” he said.

“That game at Eden Park on Saturday night [versus the Blues], if that is in Apia, they win.

“I just think they have found this balance between playing Super Rugby and keeping their Fijian flair.


“We wanted Pasifika rugby to benefit, and they’ve taken it with both hands.”

Fiji’s test side has only played 11 matches since the last World Cup but the success of the Drua will hopefully provide a number of selections.

Fiji will play Samoa, Tonga and Japan in the Pacific Nations Cup before testing themselves against France and England in World Cup warm-up fixtures.



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