The FRU pathways is where the Drua was born and its imprint in the Australian NRC competitions is still fresh in Rugby Australia’s minds and a victory for them having the Drua base in Australia for its inaugural season in Super Rugby Pacific .Embed from Getty Images
After the demise of the NRC , the FRU continued its work behind the scenes through their academies and High Performance unit . The results were more than pleasing with affiliated unions benefiting from their programs with the likes of Suva , Namosi & Naitasiri dominating Skipper Cup 2020 and being strong forces in a Covid ravaged 2021 season .
What these players brought to the Skipper Cup made it more competitive with close scorelines and a spectacle for the fans and viewers . The rewards for many will be a highlight of their careers with the naming of the Drua Squad to be made shortly with most of the local contingent already signed up .Embed from Getty Images
Strong candidates will include Tevita Ikanivere , Mateo Qolisese, Sorovakatini Tuifagalele , Chris Minimbi and the mobile and robust loosie pod in Rusiate Nasove, Immanueli Ratuniyarawa and Vilive Miramira. Three of our local best who have benefited from time with HPU and 7s programs ; strong ball hunters and can run a winger down . Their involvement in the breakdown should be a highlight of the Fijian Drua as it announces its arrival .
Fijian Drua will want to reward its local programs and it will come as no surprise with Simi Kuruvoli and Peni Matawalu leading the charge at scrumhalf . The command centre should feature recent arrival from MRL Tuidraki Samusamuvodre , Sevens sensation Napolioni Boloca, the steady Enele Malele to compliment Queenslands Teti Tela .
The key to our backine will be our ability to shift possession from first and second phase play to our outside channels.Embed from Getty Images
Hence , second five eight will be a key position that we will have to nail down to explore the wider channels. Surupepeli Vularika’s return from the MLR is timely and it wouldn’t do us any harm to have an experienced midfielder in the likes of Seta Tamanivalu to straighten and stiffen our attack .
The rise of Onisimo Ratave is metamorphic and by the end of NRC 2021 we will know whether he owns the No.13 jersey or the flanks. One things for sure , he’ll be a starting figure for the Drua and the only thing standing between him and a Drua jersey is the fact that he is already on the Waikato Chiefs radar .
Fiji’s production line of outside backs will provide for the flanks and should include 7’s program intern Vinaya Habosi.Embed from Getty Images
An interesting question will be who will be the last man down. Will Peceli Nacebe return from the wilderness. Will Alefereti Veitokani find form or will we develop young Sireli Maqala who has a strong skillset to excel at fly half and fullback .
Its exciting times ahead for Fiji Rugby .Apart from the overdue announcements , we hope Fiji Drua will release their merchandise. Because , the fan base awaits . A nation awaits . DRUANATION awaits
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