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Blues prove too strong for Drua in season opener

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua lost their Super Rugby Pacific opener to a strong Blues outfit 34-10 in New Zealand today.

The Mick Byrne coached side, backed by a big vocal Fijian crowd, made a fanatic start and completed 23 phases on their way to the try, only to knock the ball forward.

Blues managed to get their momentum and scored four unanswered tries in succession through Number 8 Hoskins Sotutu, winger Caleb Clarke, fullback Zarn Sullivan and flanker Dalton Papali’i.

The Fijians got their first points of the season through the boots of debutant fly-half Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula who minutes before halftime was sin-binned for an infringement in the ruck.

The Drua were unlucky to concede another try close to the break when they muffed the clearance of an Angus Ta’avao charge down and backrower Sotutu scored his second try of the half.

The Blues led 29-3 at halftime.

The visitors started the second half well and scored their lone try of the match through lock Leone Rotuisolia and halfback Frank Lomani successfully converted as Blues scrumhalf Finlay Christie also was yellow carded at the restart.

The Blues defence had begun to look vulnerable and had the Drua been able to take advantage of Christie’s time in the sin bin to score again, they might have been able to place the home team under pressure.

But the match meandered and almost 20 minutes passed before Sullivan’s second try sealed the deal for the Blues.

The Fijian Drua will now travel to Australia and will face Moana Pasifika in the Super Round in Melbourne next Saturday before hosting the Crusaders in Lautoka on 9 March.

Blues: Zarn Sullivan, Mark Tele’a, Rieko Ioane, Harry Plummer, Caleb Clarke, Stephen Perofeta, Finlay Christie; Hoskins Sotutu, Dalton Papali’i (capt), Anton Segner, Josh Beehre, Sam Darry, Angus Ta’avao, Kurt Eklund, Joshua Fusitu’a.

Reserves: Ricky Riccitelli, Jordan Lay, Marcel Renata, Laghlan McWhannell, Adrian Choat, Sam Nock, AJ Lam, Cole Forbes.

Fijian Drua: Isikeli Rabitu, Epeli Momo, Iosefo Masi, Apisalome Vota, Selestino Ravutaumada, Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Frank Lomani Meli Derenalagi (capt), Ella Canakaivata, Etonia Waqa, Leone Rotuisolia, Isoa Nasilasila, Mesake Doge, Tevita Ikanivere, Livai Natave.

Reserves: Mesulame Dolokoto, Emosi Tuqiri, Jone Koroiduadua, Mesake Vocevoce, Vilive Miramira, Peni Matawalu, Kemu Valetini, Tudraki Samusamuvodre.

Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (NZ).

Reginald Chandar
Reginald Chandar
Head of News & Sports | news@fijilive.com

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