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Waratahs focused on ‘doing a job’ in Fiji in bid to get season back on track

Langi Gleeson of the NSW Waratahs is tackled during the round two Super Rugby Pacific match between Fijian Drua and NSW Waratahs at AAMI Park, on March 04, 2023, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Quinn Rooney/Getty Images)

Rain, hail or shine, the NSW Waratahs plan on “doing a job” on the Fijian Drua in a desperate bid to reignite their Super Rugby Pacific finals hopes.


The Waratahs will take on the Drua in front of almost 15,000 rabid fans at a sold-out Churchill Park in Lautoka on Saturday knowing their season likely hinges on victory.

Both sides are one from four this campaign after both recording upset wins over the defending champion Crusaders.

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Back-rower Langi Gleeson, one of four NSW players with Fijian heritage, has warned teammates they’ll be entering a cauldron.


Last 5 Meetings

Average Points scored
First try wins
Home team wins

“It’s almost like it’s a fortress,” Gleeson said before Friday’s captain’s run.

“It’s always tough to verse the Drua, especially in their hometown. Their crowd certainly gets behind them and it’s hard to shut them down.

“Especially with the heat and humidity, with the crowd as well, I’m sure we’ll remember this game for the rest of our careers.

“But we’ll try and do a job on them this Saturday.”

The Fiji weather office forecast heavy rain and issued flood warnings this week, but more of a concern for the Waratahs will be Drua coach – and former Wallabies assistant – Mick Byrne’s claim that his players are nearing peak fitness already this season.


Despite their 1-3 record, the Drua outscored the Blues – last-start winners over the Waratahs – in the second half, and also Moana Pasifika, as well as keeping the Crusaders to zero after the interval.

“My most physical games have been against the Drua,” Gleeson said.

“A lot of sore bodies for like two weeks after playing the Drua so it’s just about getting in those contacts and wrapping the ball.”

Unbeaten in four meetings with the Drua, the Tahs are coming off consecutive two-point home defeats to the Highlanders and Blues.


But the narrow losses have buoyed Darren Coleman’s troops rather than deflated them.

“It gives us a lot of confidence to match those teams, as opposed to last year; we wouldn’t even get close to them,” Gleeson said.

“We’re improving every week and there’s a lot to learn from that game against the Blues.”

In a double-header treat for fans, the Waratahs women also will face the defending champion Fijian Drua in a rematch of last year’s semi-final.


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Michael 38 minutes ago
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