November 25, 2021
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First non-Fijian added in Drua squad

New Zealand fly-half Baden Kerr is the first non-Fiji eligible player added to the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua squad for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific. 
 
Kerr will provide injury cover and depth in the crucial playmaker role as Drua No. 36. 
 
The 32-year old represented Counties Manukau from 2010 to 2014 and joined the Blues for the 2012 Super Rugby season. 
 
After a short stint with the England-based Bedford Blues in 2015, Kerr joined the Saracens in July 2016 before returning home to Counties Manukau team for the 2017 season. 
 
Kerr boosted the Honda Heat squad in Japan's Top League competition from 2018 to 2020, before returning home to Counties Manukau for the Bunnings NPC (NZ).
 
Two other players added into the squad are, Suva halfback Leone Nawai grabbing the third halfback spot at No. 35, while its a welcome return to rugby for former New Zealand Warriors winger Selestino Ravutaumada as Drua No. 37. 
 
Ravutaumada joins the squad after a stint in Rugby League with the Junior Kiwis and the New Zealand Warriors. He takes up one of the outside back positions in the squad.
 
Drua chief executive Brian Thorburn welcomed the trio and also elaborated that due to the experienced fly halves sustaining injuries, they had to select Kurr who fulfills their requirements. 
 
"Leone joins other Fijian Drua players who have earned their place through consistency, patience and hard work on the domestic scene. He has played in the Deans competition, the Fijian Under 20s, in the Skipper Cup as well as the Fijian Latui."
 
"Our first choice Fijian specialist fly halves are all under an injury cloud, with one, Alivereti Veitokani ruled out for the 2022 season already with a major knee injury. Caleb Muntz is undertaking rehab from shoulder surgery. Teti Tela is undertaking light training only as he recovers from an Archilles tendon rupture." 
 
"We clearly have a need for a flyhalf like Baden to mentor our remaining halves options that are new to Super Rugby and returning from extended stints in 7s. We want to make an impact right from our very first match on 19 February. The Coaching staff settled on Baden as an ideal addition to the squad given his excellent game management and accurate goal kicking."
 
Swire Shipping Fijian Drua Head Coach Mick Byrne said they want the game-plan based around fast, powerful and adventurous plays. 
 
"We need a flyhalf with experience at this level to keep our pack moving forward with tactical kicking and unleash our backline at every opportunity. Baden has the right set of skills to meet this requirement."
 
"It’s exciting for us to have him in our Drua squad to reinforce that crucial playmaker position. He brings valuable top-level experience into our squad having played in Super Rugby, the English Premiership, NZ's NPC."
 
"Baden’s experience will also be excellent mentorship for other flyhalf options Napolioni Bolaca,Tuidraki Samusamuvodre and Kitione Taliga."
 
"Baden ticks all the boxes with a set of skills – adventurous play, tactical kicking and accurate goal kicking. He is already used to being part of a squad with players from the Fiji and Pacific Islands, so we’re confident he'll adjust to the Drua environment." 
 
By Romeka Romena   


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