Fava rates defending champion

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Laisani Moceisawana on attack for Fijiana Drua against Brumbies at Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

ACT Brumbies women’s head coach Scott Fava said Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua was the team to beat this season despite losing a majority of the players from their inaugural Buildcorp Super Rugby W after winning last year.

He made this comment during a postmatch interview on Saturday after his side lost to the Fijiana Drua 7-12 during their clash at Nadi’s Prince Charles Park.

“The difficulty is that they lost several players from their squad last year and they are on a re-building phase,” said the former Wallabies number eight.

Fava said the abundant talent pool in Fiji’s rugby set-up would fill in for those players that had progressed on from the Drua.

“If you look at the games before, there is a lot of good talent coming through the ranks, so we know the players that they will lose, they will replace it with players that are just as good.

“These new players were probably waiting for the opportunity and they will make full use of their opportunities,” he said.

Fava, who is the assistant Wallaroos coach, hailed the performance of his three players — Fijiana 15s prop Iris Verebalavu, Tabua Tuinakauvadra and Lydia Kavoa with links to Fiji during the match against the Drua.

“Iris (Verebalavu), she brought in a lot of experience having played for Fijiana 15s during the Rugby World Cup last year and she massively contributes to the team as we could see from the scrums where she got a couple of really good turnovers.

“For Lydia (Kavoa) to debut at 30, means she worked hard to make the team and we have a lot of faith in her. Unfortunately, she got injured and we replaced her with Tabua (Tuinakauvadra) and she also did a great job after coming on.”

He said the response from the Fijian fans was amazing and it was exciting for the girls to play in Fiji.

ACT Brumbies will play Waratahs while the Fijiana Drua hosts the Melbourne Rebels at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva.

Both matches will be played on Saturday.

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