Wednesday, April 24, 2024
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Junior Ratuva in line for Drua debut

New wing signing Junior Ratuva looks all set to make his Swire Shipping Fijian Drua debut against Moana Pasifika in Round 2 of Super Rugby Pacific in Melbourne on Saturday.

Ratuva has been named in the match day 23 and will come off the bench.

The recently signed speed merchant was previously contracted in the NRL with New Zealand Warriors, and has also played in France’s Pro D2 competition for SAXV Chante.

Head Coach Mick Byrne has maintained the front row and entire starting backline from last week.

Fiji’s Rugby World Cup hero Simione Kuruvoli makes the squad for the first time in a Super Rugby Pacific match since 2022 while Flying Fijians forwards Haereiti Hetet and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta also mark their return.

Back to hold the front row is Livai Natave at loosehead prop, with last week’s Home Basics Drua Player of the Match Tevita Ikanivere at hooker, and Mesake Doge at tighthead.

Young Mesake Vocevoce moves into the starting 15 in the second row to partner with Isoa Nasilasila, who starts his 29th match for the Fijian Drua.

Etonia Waqa remains at blindside flanker with Elia Canakaivata on the openside. Captain Meli Derenalagi dons his usual number 8 jumper.

The starting halves partnership of Frank Lomani and Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula has been retained, as has the wing pairing of Selestino Ravutaumada and Epeli Momo.

Apisalome Vota starts the match at inside centre with Iosefo Masi outside him.

Isikeli Rabitu completes the starting 15 at fullback.

On the bench, Mesulame Dolokoto will be the backup hooker.

Hetet is back in a Drua jersey for the first time since last season’s quarter-final to cover at loosehead, with Jone Koroiduadua covering the tighthead prop position.

The powerful Cirikidaveta also marks his return to cover for the locks, with Vilive Miramira backing up for the loose forwards.

Kuruvoli returns to the playing group for the Drua to cover at halfback with Kemu Valetini covering flyhalf and Junior Ratuva completing the bench as back up winger.

The Drua vs Moana Pasifika match kicks off at 6.05pm at the AAMI Park.

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

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