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Fijian Drua outclass Rebels in trial match

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua overpowered the Melbourne Rebels 24-0 in their trial match of the Shop and Save Super Rugby Pacific home series at Prince Charles Park in Nadi today.

The first quarter did not produce any points as both teams tried to settle and get the cobwebs out of their boots.

Speed merchant Vinaya Habosi showed glimpses of his rampaging runs and big tackles but was contained by the visitors and a bit of downpour made the turf a little slippery which made ball handling somewhat challenging.

Teti Tela and Phillip Baselala were introduced early in the second quarter in place of Peni  Matawalu and Caleb Muntz while Emori Tuqiri and Zuriel Tagimaitoa made way for Tevita Ikanivere and Livai Natave.

Winger Taniela Rakuro made a dashing run towards the end of the quarter but was pushed into touch just a couple of minutes away from the try-line.

The third quarter opened the floodgates for the hosts as they lifted the tempo of the game and scored two brilliant team set-up tries through flanker Kitione Salawa Jnr and outside centre Tuidraki Samusamuvodre while Teti Tela was successful from one of the two conversion attempts.

Olympic and 7s World Cup gold medalist Iosefo Masi went off the bench and clinched the third and ftry on debut for the Fijian Drua while replacement fly-half Kemu Valetini missed the conversion.

Hardworking Joseva Tamani had the final say of the match as he raced away from an interception to score while Valetini successfully converted.

The Mick Byrne coached side will now prepare for their Super Rugby Pacific 2023 opener against Moana Pasifika in Auckland on 25 February.

The teams:

Drua 1– Emori Tuqiri, Zuriel Togataumoa, Jone Tiko, Isoa Nasilasila, Sorovakatini Tuifagalele, Raikabula Momoedonu, Motikai Murray, Elia Canakaivata, Peni Matawalu, Caleb Muntz, Vinaya Habosi, Michael Naitokani, Apisalome Vota, Taniela Rakuro, Ilaisa Droasese.

Drua 2– Livai Natave, Tevita Ikanivere, Jone Koroi, Sailosi Vukalokalo, Chris Minimbi, Rusiate Nasove, Kitione Salawa, Joseva Tamani, Frank Lomani, Teti Tela, Tuidraki Samusamuvodre, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Iosefo Masi, Salesitino Ravutaumada, Timoci Sauvoli, Mesulame Dolokoto.

Reserves: Joji Kunavula, Phillip Baselala, Kevu Valetini and Kalione Nasoko.

Melbourne Rebels– Issac Kailea, Alex Mafi, Cabous Eloff, Tuiana Tualima,  Josh Canham,Viaolini Ekuasi, Richard Hardwick, Tamati Ioane, James Tuttle, Carter Gordon, Ili Vudogo, Ray Nu’u, Lucas Ripley, Lachie Anderson.

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

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