Drua, Force in the race for NRC lead

Aporosa Tabulawaki leads the charge during training at Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

FIJI Airways Drua coach Senirusi Seruvakula has named a strong line-up to face second placed Western Force today to determine the Fijians’ fate of hosting their first home semi-final next weekend.

Seruvakula has included another debutant in the last round of the National Rugby Championship to replace injured prop Mosese Ducivaki.

Suva’s bulldozing front row Ratu Penijamini Makutu is the latest inclusion into the Drua side after Ducivaki sustained a knee injury against Queensland Country in the third round of the NRC.

The former Nadroga tighthead prop will make his debut in the number three jersey against the Force in a highly rated match between the table topper Drua and the runner-up.

Seruvakula said Ducivaki’s injury gave an opportunity for another player to reach the expected standard in a crucial match.

“This is an opportunity for another player to step up and get into the starting line-up,” Seruvakula said.

Meanwhile, Olympics gold medallist and Western Force danger man Masivesi Dakuwaqa will miss out on the match against his Fijian counterparts today.

The Drua takes on the Force at the UWA Park in Perth Australia at 6pm.

Players:

Drua: 1. Joeli Veitayaki 2. Ratu Navuma 3. Benji Makutu 4. Peni Naulago 5. Albert Tuisue 6. Mosese Voka (c) 7. Jone Navori 8. Eremasi Radrodro 9. Frank Lomani 10. Alivereti Veitokani 11. Aporosa Tabulawaki 12. Cyril Reece 13. Apisalome Vota 14. Levani Kurumudu 15. Enele Malele. Reserves: 16. Mesu Dolakoto 17. Eroni Mawi 18. Luke Tagi 19. Tevita Naqali 20. Johnny Dyer 21. Seru Vularika 22. Apisalome Waqatabu 23. Lepani Raiyala.

Western Force: 1. Harrison Lloyd 2. Heath Tessmann 3. Kieran Longbottom 4. Fergus Lee-warner 5. Jeremy Thrush 6. Tevin Ferris 7. Chris Alcock 8. Brynard Stander 9. Ian Prior (c) 10. Andrew Deegan 11. Rod Davies 12. Rodney Iona 13. Henry Taefu 14. Brad Lacey 15. Jack McGregor. Reserves: 16. Alifelete Kaitu’u 17. Cameron Orr 18. Chris Heiberg 19. Leon Power 20. Henry Stowers 21. Issak Fines-Leleiwasa, 22. AJ Alatimu 23. Clay Uyen

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