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Watch: Drua wing draws Rupeni Caucaunibuca comparisons after stellar double

By Finn Morton
Taniela Rakuro of the Fijian Drua celebrates after scoring the winning try during the round one Super Rugby Pacific match between Moana Pasifika and Fijian Drua at Mt Smart Stadium, on February 25, 2023, in Auckland, New Zealand. (Photo by Hannah Peters/Getty Images)

Fijian Drua wing Taniela Rakuro has drawn comparisons to Flying Fijians great Rupeni Caucaunibuca after scoring a blistering double against the Brumbies in pre-season.

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Rakuro, who scored a match-winning try on debut against Moana Pasifika last season, made seven appearances for the Fijian Drua in 2023 which included four starts on the left wing.

But the powerful wing appears destined to play a bigger role this season after stealing the show in the Drua’s first-half blitz over the Brumbies in Canberra earlier this month.

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It only took Rakuro four minutes to announce himself to the crowd at Viking Park as the No. 11 beat Brumbies fullback Shane Wilcox on the outside with sheer pace and determination.

Rakuro still had plenty of work to do, though, but showed plenty of composure as he stepped between Wilcox, Corey Toole and Matias Jensen to complete the 55m run to the house.

“That is lovely stuff,” the commentator exclaimed. “Rakuro goes down the sideline, gets away from one and Rakuro goes under the sticks.

“That is explosive stuff from the Fijian Drua.”

The Drua continued to mark against the traditional Australian Super Rugby powerhouse as they ran up a strong 21-7 lead inside the opening 27 minutes of play.

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But there was more to come for the Drua as Rakuro helped extend the visitors’ lead with another sensational effort, but this try came down the right edge of the field.

After receiving a short ball, Rakuro forced his way through the Brumbies’ defensive line with power and force. There were at least two defenders around him when the wing made the initial burst.

Rakuro also beat Brumbies enforcer Luke Reimer and another covering defender to complete the score mere inches inside the right touchline.

“That’s lovely work by the winger,” the commentator said. “Rakuro getting over, coming off the left wing, all the over to the right, getting himself in involved.”

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The Brumbies managed to fight their way back to win the pre-season clash 43-40, but Rakuro’s efforts haven’t gone unnoticed.

Selestino Ravutaumada, Eroni Sau and Kalaveti Ravouvou were all at times seen as preferred options last seen, but the latter two have both left the Drua to pursue other opportunities.

Sau has moved to Stade Montois Rugby in France and Ravouvou has signed with English Premiership side the Bristol Bears. There may be an opportunity for Rakuro to shine in 2024.

The Fijian Drua will start their regular season campaign away to the Blues in Whangarei on Saturday afternoon (NZT).

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