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Fijian Drua statement: Ugly scenes at AAMI Park

By Ian Cameron
The referee shows the red card to Jone Koroiduadua of Fijian Drua during the round seven Super Rugby Pacific match between Melbourne Rebels and Fijian Drua at AAMI Park, on April 05, 2024, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The Fijian Drua have issued a statement following ugly scenes during their game with the Melbourne in which a member of the crowd was ejected for allegedly racially abusing Frank Lomani.

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The match turned ugly following a number of ill-discipline by Fijian Drua players, with the side ultimately finishing the game with just 13 men.

Drua lost former Rebels halfback Lomani to a red card for a deliberate foul when he elbowed the back of the head of lock Josh Canham.

As Lomani made his way to the sideline supporters were heard abusing him and at least one was subsequently removed from the stadium for hurling racist abuse at the halfback.

The Melbourne Rebels have apologised to the Fijian Drua over the incident.

A statement from the Drua reads: “The Fijian Drua are shocked at the alleged racial abuse suffered by one of our players during Friday night’s match against the Rebels in Melbourne. Clearly there is no place for racism of any kind anywhere. We all have a duty to protect players and staff from situations which go against the values of our game.

“We are thankful to the Melbourne Rebels for reaching out with an apology and for assuring us that an investigation to identify the person(s) at fault is underway. We note that the Tournament [SRP] is also independently assessing the matter. We’re also providing Frank Lomani with the support he needs at this time.

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“The alleged actions of one or two individuals will not affect the warm relationship we have with rugby fans in Melbourne, which is truly one of the world’s great sporting cities.

“We will return to Melbourne this very week as the Rooster Chicken Fijian Drua women take on Rebels women in the crucial final round of Buildcorp Super Rugby Women. We look forward to meeting and engaging with as many fans as possible at AAMI Park on Saturday.”

Both Lomani and Fijian Drua prop Jone Koroiduadua – who was also red-carded for ‘Physical abuse’ of an opposition player during an incident 54 minutes into the game – are facing a SANZAAR disciplinary committee. Koroiduadua joined Lomani on the bench when he was red-carded after attempting to head-butt Rebels hooker Alex Mafi.

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Jon 1 days ago
Why Sam Cane's path to retirement is perfect for him and the All Blacks

> It would be best described as an elegant solution to what was potentially going to be a significant problem for new All Blacks coach Scott Robertson. It is a problem the mad population of New Zealand will have to cope with more and more as All Blacks are able to continue their careers in NZ post RWCs. It will not be a problem for coaches, who are always going to start a campaign with the captain for the next WC in mind. > Cane, despite his warrior spirit, his undoubted commitment to every team he played for and unforgettable heroics against Ireland in last year’s World Cup quarter-final, was never unanimously admired or respected within New Zealand while he was in the role. Neither was McCaw, he was considered far too passive a captain and then out of form until his last world cup where everyone opinions changed, just like they would have if Cane had won the WC. > It was never easy to see where Cane, or even if, he would fit into Robertson’s squad given the new coach will want to be building a new-look team with 2027 in mind. > Cane will win his selections on merit and come the end of the year, he’ll sign off, he hopes, with 100 caps and maybe even, at last, universal public appreciation for what was a special career. No, he won’t. Those returning from Japan have already earned the right to retain their jersey, it’s in their contract. Cane would have been playing against England if he was ready, and found it very hard to keep his place. Perform, and they keep it however. Very easy to see where Cane could have fit, very hard to see how he could have accomplished it choosing this year as his sabbatical instead of 2025, and that’s how it played out (though I assume we now know what when NZR said they were allowing him to move his sabbatical forward and return to NZ next year, they had actually agreed to simply select him for the All Blacks from overseas, without any chance he was going to play in NZ again). With a mammoth season of 15 All Black games they might as well get some value out of his years contract, though even with him being of equal character to Richie, I don’t think they should guarantee him his 100 caps. That’s not what the All Blacks should be about. He absolutely has to play winning football.

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