Fijian Drua head to the Super Rugby quarterfinals

Photo: Fijian Drua official facebook page

It was a spectacular show of skill, talent and power when the Fijian Drua played the Melbourne Rebels this weekend in Lautoka. 

Tevita Ikanivere continued to be instrumental for the Drua. He had more than a couple of good strong carries; his defence was solid; and his lineout throws were perfect.

Blindside flanker Etonia Waqa and Lock forward Mesake Vocevoce  put in massive performances, and strong ball carries. 

And despite copping a yellow card early in the first-half, Frank Lomani dictated the game. With the right motivation, Lomani is a world class halfback. 

Led by their captain Rob Leota, the visitors looked to muscle up against the local side. 

Wallabies and Melbourne Rebels prop, Taniela Tupou was playing his 100th Super Rugby game. The Tongan was the Rebels wrecking ball each time they crashed up the middle.

It was a tit-for-tat first half with both teams scoring 3 tires each. Half-time score 19 – 19.

Loosehead prop Livai Natave made a significant run early in the second half, setting the tone for the Drua as they took control of the game.

Iosefo Masi is always dangerous with the ball. He was a menace for the Rebels defensive line.

Isaiah Armstrong Ravula and his sub, Caleb Muntz had a good time with the boot. 

Young Waqa Nalaga played well in his second Super Rugby start, grabbing two tries and making strong tackles. Nalaga was awarded the player of the match after the game.

The final score Drua 40 – 19 Rebels. 

There were emotional scenes after the final whistle as the Churchill Park crowd sang “Isa Lei” to farewell the team, which will not compete in Super Rugby next year

After the match, Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne gave full credit to his players, and their opponents: “Obviously, our hearts go out to the Rebels with the news they got yesterday (Friday). And full credit to them for the way they started the game and kept the pressure on us. But our players were good enough to hold on to be 19 all at half-time. It gave us a chance to show our fans what they mean to us and what this competition means to us. The boys were great in the second half and it was fantastic”.

Looking to the quarterfinals, Byrne said: “We’ll get back and do what we do on Monday. We know that we’ve been here last year. We know what the quarterfinals are about. We know there’s a big step up in intensity and we’ll be ready for that.”

The Drua will meet the Auckland Blues at Eden Park at 7:05pm (FT) next Saturday.