Drua set sail for Super season

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Fijian Drua players Isikeli Rabitu (left) and Emosi Tuqiri arrive at the Nadi International Airport. Picture: REINAL CHAND

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua left our shores yesterday, pumped for its first hit-out of the 2024 Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific season in Whangarei, New Zealand.

Head coach Mick Byrne was forced to make some changes with injuries to first choice fullback Ilaisa Droasese and winger Taniela Rakuro but it has opened the doors for youngsters Isikeli Rabitu and Epeli Momo to earn their first caps.

The two trial matches have served as valuable learning grounds ahead of the season opener.

“What we have seen is that a lot of our players have real understanding of the way we want to play, what we’re trying to achieve and once we have clarity around that, we can have a really good shift after that,” Byrne explained.

The team is in a good place as it braces for the Vern Cotter coached Blues side.

“The Blues are always a good team, they’ve played in finals and we know we’re playing them at home with a new coach, new setup so, there’s going to be a lot of enthusiasm, physicality and that’s what we are expecting.

“For us it’s about preparing ourselves well, se travel well, we get over there and meet fire with fire from the first minute.

“We have a lot of depth now, what we feel now is disappointment for those players that they’re not able to play the first game and not so much around not being able to pit out a strong team. The depth in our squad now is such that we are able to continue with a similar squad,” Byrne added.

The Drua take on the Blues at Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei today at 3.35pm.

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