The influence of Fijian Drua players will be massive for the Fiji Water Flying Fijians at the 2023 Rugby World Cup in France.
A total of 18 Drua players have been named in the 33-member squad which was named in Nadi by Coach Simon Raiwalui on Tuesday.
This makes Fijian Drua, the only club in the Super Rugby Pacific competition to have the highest number of its representatives selected in a national team for the World Cup.
The Mick Byrne coached side, just in its second year, has accomplished a lot by reaching the quarterfinals of Super Rugby Pacific and the good form and consistency of the players of the locally based players, gave them the edge over overseas based reps which saw the omission of some top layers like Ben Volavola, Seta Tamanivalu, Kitione Kamikamica and Vilimoni Botitu from the final team.
Players selected in the forwards include co-captains Meli Derenalagi and Tevita Ikanivere, props Mesake Doge, Samuela Tawake and Jone Koroiduadua, hooker Zuriel Togiatama, lock Isoa Nasilasila, backrowers Te’ahiwaru Cirikidaveta and Vilive Miramira.
Those selected in the backs are halfbacks Frank Lomani, Peni Matawalu and Simione Kuruvoli, fly-halves Caleb Muntz and Teti Tela, centres Iosefo Masi and Kalaveti Ravouvou, winger Salesitino Ravutaumada and fullback Ilaisa Droasese.
Three other Drua players, props Haereiti Hetet and Meli Tuni, and utility forward Joseva Tamani missed out on selection due to injuries.