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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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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3 Comments
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Andrew 412 days ago

The question that now has to be asked...Why arent MP successful?

i
isaac 412 days ago

The Drua are 2 -3 winning ratio against kiwi teams....a much better result that their aussie counterparts

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Jon 48 minutes ago
Buoyant England travel to New Zealand full of hope but are they walking into an All Blacks ambush?

> New head coach Scott Robertson has kept only forwards coach Jason Ryan and conditioning coach Nic Gill from the previous regime *and so there is little institutional knowledge inherent in the new team.* Shows you what the English know about sport. Isn’t just fantastic that the best rugby team, or brand, on the planet has three brothers playing together? One a bull, the other a dancer, and last a .. boxer? Looks like a boxer bless him. > But Robertson has been working to fix that issue, with senior players and coaches having been regularly meeting to work out how they will operate together both on and off the field to ensure there is strong decision-making and a deep understanding of how the team wants to play. Have they? I would suggest then it is not a case of fixing things, that is not what Razor does. Razor will evolve the relationship between player and coach into a more symbiotic relationship. This wont be a coach that shouts down at his players theyre not doing good enough. I can imagine one of the first key areas he will be implementing is the respective leadership for each coaching group. Tight five, Loosies, Halves, Centers, and Back Three, will each have their own leadership team and an agile approach to the playing group relaying what they believe is happening on the training paddock, and in games. It will be a very big step to get everyone involved, able, and thinking about contributing to that process, but I believe a very beneficial one if successful. > England may have their best chance to win in 21 years, but they may also be walking into an ambush – *about to be hit* by a young, gifted, supremely physical and athletic All Blacks team coached by a man who has made every post a winner so far in his career and has this uncanny knack of getting the best out of people. Or, by a group hurting from not getting over the line and proving to everyone they are the best in the world, full of experience and cohesion, grit and motivation. You only need to look at someone like Patrick Tuipulotu to see someone with a fire under his belly from missing out on the last RWC due to injury, and having lost to this opposition in the previous one. It will be very interesting to see how this ‘Razor’ plays it. Does he stick with the traditional and protect the time honored All Black values of commitment, or does he evolve and pick the best players to win the Rugby Championship - and by association this test series - like Akira Ioane?

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