The Fiji Times »Olympians boost Drua

The announcement by World Rugby According to Fijian Drua to compete in Super Rugby next year brought a lot of relief and joy.

According to World Rugby, this would improve the player development journey in the Pacific Islands, thus improving the possibility for players to realize their full potential on the world stage, and it would support the ambition to develop local players up to the level. test match.

Sir Bill Beaumont hailed the announcement as a game changer for rugby in the region.

After the announcement, Fijian Drua appointed Mick Byrne head coach. Byrne has extensive coaching experience and has served as an assistant and skills coach for the Wallabies, AB, Japan and Scotland during a career as a rugby union coach.

Byrne brings with him Super Rugby experience as an assistant coach of the Blues, and his credentials are recognized worldwide.

He is a wonderful addition to the Fijian Drua, having a solid background as an international coach, having won two RWCs, five Tri-Nations titles, five Rugby Championships and 11 Bledisloe Cups (with AB), as well as three Asian Cups. and a Pacific Cup. Nations Cup (with Japan).

Following Byrne’s appointment, Fijian strength and conditioning coach Naca Cawanibuka joined Fijian team Drua vuvale as athletic performance manager.

Naca’s work ethic, discipline and commitment can never be questioned as he has proven his skills with the 7s national team. Naca has worked tirelessly to lead the 7s team to back-to-back Olympics gold at 7s and numerous HSBC WRSS tournament and playoff titles at 7s.

In an interview with Paulini Curuqara (FT: 25/09), Cawanibuka said it was truly a lesson in humility to be part of the first Fijian trip to Drua, and it was a privilege to be called to be a part of the journey and to be entrusted with the role.

After that, the first five signings were revealed and FRU chief executive Simon Raiwalui echoed Thorburn’s sentiments, highlighting Drua’s intention to recruit and develop local talent. I am grateful to Simon and Thorburn for their ideas on why these players were selected, and I will allude to the reasons provided by Simon and Thorburn.

The first five players unveiled were Tokyo 2020 Olympics gold medalist Napolioni Bolaca, Tevita Ikanivere, Bay of Plenty speedster Onisi Ratave, experienced loose forward Nemani Nagusa and young half-back Simione Kuruvoli.

Bolaca has enjoyed success with the Sevens and has been a key member of our Olympic title defense and was named to the 2019/20 HSBC WRSS Dream Team after finishing as the series leading scorer.

Ratave, who is an electric winger, set the NPC on fire while playing for Bay of Plenty.

He played for Namosi and was part of the 7s practice squad. He’s got pace to burn and scored some scintillating tries for the Foggers.

At the age of 21, Ikanivere, a former representative of Fiji U20, made his testing debut in Fiji’s Fall Nations Cup victory over Georgia last November.

Nagusa played 18 times for Fiji between 2012 and 2019. With professional experience with Aurillac and the Newcastle Falcons in the Premiership, the 33-year-old will bring valuable experience to the Drua.

Kuruvoli is a former Fijian U20 player and has two caps after playing against Georgia last year and starting against the All Blacks in Dunedin.

Fijian Drua then announced five more players who would join the squad. On board the Drua were excellent 7s striker Ratu Meli Derenalagi, Flying Fijian and former NRC mainstay Drua Serupepeli Vularika, Suva mainstay Meli Tuni, Namosi pilot Vinaya Habosi and Tasman Mako striker, NPC Premiership winner, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.

Tu Meli Derenalagi, Flying Fijian and former NRC mainstay Drua Serupepeli Vularika, Suva Meli Tuni mainstay, Namosi pilot Vinaya Habosi and NPC Premiership winner Tasman Mako striker Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.

Tu Meli is a household name in Fiji. He won the Deans Trophy with QVS in 2016.

He was part of our success at 7 and is a gold medalist at the Olympics. He gained valuable experience playing for Suva in the Skipper Cup, and I have no doubts that Tu Meli will thrive as a loose striker in Super Rugby.

He is 23 years old, but he was captain of the 7 national team and his contribution to Fijian rugby has already been immense. With his speed and ball handling skills, he adds dynamism to the team as a striker.

Its aerial skills also make it a good alignment option.

Namosi winger Habosi and mainstay Suva Tuni have been honored for making their way through Fiji’s national and age group competitions. Tuni, who is 21, has already toured the blocks with Suva, Fiji U20 and Fijian Warriors.

It is loaded with skills and pace.

Habosi helped Namosi dethrone Nadroga, as the holder of the Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy last year, and he was lethal for Namosi in the back.

Habosi is 21, but follows in the tradition of talented Fijian wingers who know their way to the try line. Vularika has been with Fijian Drua and was part of the 2018 NRC victory.

He has the ability to play as a halfback, inside center, winger or fullback. He’s creative, has a good kicking game, defends aggressively, and makes the winning line in any position he plays, providing great options for the coaching staff.

New Zealand-based Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta is a powerful striker, aggressive in attack and defense, and is effective at lockdown and back. His experience with Tasman Mako, which includes back-to-back Premiership NPC wins, will benefit Drua.

The latest batch of players was named this week, and they include another Olympian Kalione Nasoko, our unloading machine.

Nasoko’s ability to unload herself under immense pressure, her pace of work, her discipline and her ethics resulted in her selection.

Nadroga powerhouse, Jone Koroiduadua, Chris Minimbi from Naitasiri, former Lelean Memorial School, Namosi, Drua and Fijian warrior halfback Peni Matawalu, center Namosi Kalaveti Ravouvou and former Fijian U20 skipper Raikabula Momoedonu also been recruited.

Vinaka vakalevu Simon and Thorburn for justifying the selection of these players!

  • RAJNESH LINGAM is a contributor to this newspaper. The opinions expressed are his own and not necessarily of this
    newspaper or his employer.

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