Super wary | Control, dominance over Drua for Cotter

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Fijian Drua players Mesake Doge (left) and Elia Canakaivata during training. Picture: FIJIAN DRUA FB PAGE

Former Flying Fijians and current Blues coach Vern Cotter wants his team to establish control and dominance right from the get-go against the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua.

The two sides get their Shop N Save 2024 Super Rugby Pacific season underway today at Semenoff Stadium in Whangarei, New Zealand.

Cotter, who was the Fiji head coach from 2020 to February 2023, knows gaining control and adapting quickly to game situations will be crucial for the home side because the Drua will throw things at the Blues that they were unprepared for.

“It is important to hit the ground running, to put an early stake in the ground and make a statement about how you want to go. It’s about performance,” he said.

Cotter said things that work for the Drua don’t necessarily work for other teams.

“So, with that unpredictability, we will need to adapt and connect very quickly. I want to see the team function and stay alive in all moments of the game, good and bad. “We need to see three or four good moments strung together, and then string together another three.”

Cotter has an idea of the capability of their visitors having worked with the Fijian national team.

“It’s just about being accurate and constant and having the necessary concentration to put them under pressure because, if we don’t, we’ll give them a bit of space and time, and they’ll hurt us.

“We don’t expect everything to be right, but we’ve got things we want to put in place, and we’ve got a good team out on the paddock. We’re very focused on starting the season well.

“I don’t think you want to play Fijian rugby against them, they’re the best in the world at that. So, we are looking to play a brand of rugby that suits us, and it is finding what they don’t like and giving them everything they don’t like.”

He is betting on halfback and first five-eighths combination of Finlay Christie and Stephen Perofeta to take charge today when they tussle at 3.35pm.

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