Fijian Drua

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Fijian Drua
Fijian Drua Super Rugby logo.jpg
UnionFiji Rugby Union
Founded2017; 5 years ago (2017)
Ground(s)Churchill Park
(Capacity: 11,000)
HFC Bank Stadium
(Capacity: 15,000)
Coach(es)Mick Byrne
Captain(s)Nemani Nagusa
League(s)Super Rugby Pacific
2022Playoffs: DNQ
11th overall
Team kit
Drua flyhalf Alivereti Veitokani in NRC 2017

The Fijian Drua (currently known as the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua for sponsorship reasons) is a professional rugby union team based in Fiji that competes in the Super Rugby. The team was created by the Fiji Rugby Union and launched in August 2017, shortly before the 2017 National Rugby Championship.[1] The team previously competed in the Australian National Rugby Championship competition between 2017 and 2019, when the tournament was disbanded.

On 14 April 2021, New Zealand Rugby Union confirmed the side had been granted a licence to join the Super Rugby competition.[2]

National Rugby Championship[edit]

In July 2017, the Fiji Rugby Union announced that they would enter a team in the Australian domestic National Rugby Championship from the 2017 season onwards following successful negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union,[3] with home matches being played in Suva as well as regional cities Lautoka and Sigatoka. On 25 July, Senirusi Seruvakula was named as the head coach of the team for their inaugural season,[4] and a few days later the first players were invited to a training camp.[5]


The team's name, logo and kit was revealed on 16 August 2017, with the FRU announcing that the team would be known as the Fijian Drua.[1]

In their first year of competition in NRC 2017, the Drua won three of their first four matches to be well placed at the midpoint of the season, but then lost three of their remaining four matches to finish in third place.[6] The team was well beaten by the eventual Champions Queensland Country in their semifinal.[7]

The Drua finished on top of the table after the regular season in the following year, losing only one match away to Queensland Country. In the last round they won the Horan-Little Shield by defeating Perth Spirit away in Perth,[8] before beating Canberra Vikings in their semifinal at home in Lautoka. In the final, played at the same venue a week later, the Drua avenged their previous losses to Queensland Country with a 36–26 win to take the 2018 National Rugby Championship title.[9]

The 2019 season saw the Drua once again make the playoffs, finishing with three wins, two draws and two defeats. However, they were unable to defend their title, losing in the semi-finals to Canberra Vikings.[10] This would be their last match in the tournament as the tournament was disbanded following a change in TV deal at the end of 2020, with the 2020 edition having been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Super Rugby[edit]

Following the conclusion of the 2020 Super Rugby season, the licences for the South African Super Rugby sides; the Bulls, the Lions, the Sharks and the Stormers, the Argentine Jaguares and the Japanese Sunwolves all expired.[11] The 2021 Super Rugby season, still affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, was played in two regionalised tournaments featuring the five New Zealand Super Rugby sides and the four Australian Super Rugby sides, plus the Western Force who had returned to the tournament having lost their licence at the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season. However, from 2022 onwards a new 12-team tournament had been mooted, and on 13 November 2020, the New Zealand Rugby Union announced the Fijian Drua, along with the Moana Pasifika as its preferred partners to join the competition.[12] Further steps were made in March 2021, when the New Zealand Rugby Union agreed to a sharing of broadcast revenue with both the Drua and Moana Pasifika,[13] and this was followed later in the same month by World Rugby announcing financial, high performance and administrative support for both potential new sides, in order to boost the performances of Pacific Islands at international level, while also being able to stay local instead of heading overseas.[14]

On 14 April 2021, both sides were granted licences to join Super Rugby in 2022 by the New Zealand Rugby Union.[15]

On 30 August 2021, the side was confirmed in Super Rugby for the 2022 and 2023 seasons, beginning with the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season.[16] The team will be based in Suva, however for the 2022 season, the team will be based in Australia due to travel restrictions as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic,[17] with the Lake Ainsworth Sports and Recreation Centre in Lennox Head, New South Wales confirmed as the teams base for the 2022 season in November 2021.[18]

The team will be coached by Mick Byrne for 2022 and 2023.[19]

On 15 November 2021, the schedule for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season was announced, with the Drua's inaugural match against the Blues in Auckland.[20]

On 21 January 2022, Nemani Nagusa was named captain for the 2022 season.[21]

Name and colours[edit]

The team is named after the drua, a traditional Fijian double canoe that served as warships in naval battles. The team's logo originally pictured a drua stylised inside a rugby ball, to symbolise Fijian players' speed, agility and flair. It was replaced when the team joined Super Rugby, with the new logo picturing a drua. The Fijian Drua colours while participating in the National Rugby Championship were sky blue, black and white.

Sponsorship[edit]

When the team competed in the National Rugby Championship, Fiji Airways were the principal sponsor for the Drua, signing a five-year deal in late 2017,[22] and ISC were their kit manufacturer.[1] The team was also sponsored by Paradise Beverages, with the Fiji Gold Beer logo and the Ratu Rum brand appearing on the sleeves and back of the jersey.[23]

On 27 October 2021, New Balance were announced as the official apparel partner for the team in Super Rugby on a three-year deal.[24] On 11 November 2021, Rooster Chicken were announced as one of the teams jersey sponsors on a three-year deal,[25] while on 16 November 2021, PacificAus (a sports programme set up by the Australian government) were announced as sponsors of the team on a three-year deal.[26] On 17 November 2021, during the teams kit reveal for the 2022 season, Swire Shipping were announced as the teams naming rights sponsor for 2022, while Fiji Airways will return to sponsor the side as a jersey sponsor.[27]

Stadiums[edit]

While participating in the National Rugby Championship between 2017 and 2019, the Drua played their fixtures at ANZ Stadium, Suva (2017 and 2019), Churchill Park (2017, 2018 and 2019), Lawaqa Park (2017 and 2019) and Ratu Cakobau Park (2018) in Fiji.

For Super Rugby, the Drua will play at least one fixture in Fiji during the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season, playing at ANZ Stadium, Suva in Round 7.[28] A further match in Fiji could take place in 2022, with the rest of the Drua's home matches taking place in Australia, with the CommBank Stadium in Parramatta, Leichhardt Oval in Sydney and Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane being confirmed as hosting venues.[29] Due to flooding in the Brisbane area of Australia, the Sunshine Coast Stadium in Kawana Waters was used for their round 3 match,[30] while following the relaxation of COVID-19 restrictions, the Drua were able to reschedule their round 15 match so it could be played in Fiji, at Churchill Park.[31]

Current squad[edit]

The squad for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season is:[32][a][b][c][d][e][f]

Drua Super Rugby squad

Props

Hookers

Locks

Loose Forwards

Scrum-halves

Fly-halves

Centres

Wingers

Fullbacks

(c) Denotes team captain, Bold denotes internationally capped, DEV denotes a development squad player, ST denotes a short-term signing, Injury icon 2.svg denotes a player ruled out for the season with injury.
  1. ^ a b c Kerr & Ravutaumada weren't named in the original Drua squad, but were announced as signing in late-November 2021.[33]
  2. ^ a b c d Muntz, Ratu and Sauvoli weren't named in the original Drua squad, but were announced as signing before the beginning of the season.[34]
  3. ^ a b Lomani wasn't named in the original Drua squad, but was announced as signing in March 2022.[35]
  4. ^ a b c Mataiciwa and Vuta weren't named in the original Drua squad, but were announced in the side for Round 3.[36]
  5. ^ a b Tiko wasn't named in the original Drua squad, but was announced in the side for Round 8.[37]
  6. ^ a b Droasese wasn't named in the original Drua squad, but was announced as signing in April 2022.[38]

Coaching staff[edit]

The following coaching team was appointed for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season:[19][39]

Name Title
Mick Byrne Head coach
Brad Harris Assistant coach
Glen Jackson Assistant coach
Nacanieli Cawanibuka Head of Athletic Performance
William Koong Head Physiotherapist
Peceli Derederenalagi Team Manager
Nico Andrade General Manager

Records[edit]

Honours[edit]

Season standings[edit]

National Rugby Championship

Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts   Play-offs
2019 3rd 7 3 2 2 231 214 +17 3 17   Semi-final loss to Canberra Vikings by 28–27
2018 1st 7 6 0 1 283 175 +108 3 27   Grand final win over Queensland Country by 36-26
2017 3rd 8 4 0 4 261 245 +16 6 22   Semi-final loss to Queensland Country by 57–21

Head coaches[edit]

Captains[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "FRU Reveals Fiji NRC Official Name and Kit" (Press release). Fiji Rugby Union. 16 August 2017. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  2. ^ "Next steps in Pacific Island professional teams journey confirmed by NZ Rugby" (Press release). All Blacks. 14 April 2021. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  3. ^ "FRU joins 2017 National Rugby Championship" (Press release). Fiji Rugby Union. 21 July 2017. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  4. ^ "Seruvakula Appointed NRC Coach" (Press release). Fiji Rugby Union. 25 July 2017. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  5. ^ "NRC Extended Squad to March into Camp" (Press release). Fiji Rugby Union. 6 August 2017. Archived from the original on 16 August 2017. Retrieved 16 August 2017.
  6. ^ McKay, Brett (28 October 2017). "Rays pip Drua in Suva". Rugby.com.au. Archived from the original on 1 November 2017.
  7. ^ Scambler, Tom (7 November 2017). "Defence key to Queensland Country's remarkable NRC turnaround". Fox Sports. Archived from the original on 28 August 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  8. ^ "Sport: Fijian Drua eye NRC glory after securing minor premiership". Radio New Zealand. 15 October 2018. Archived from the original on 28 August 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  9. ^ Robinson, Georgina (27 October 2018). "Fijian Drua clinch NRC title with win over Queensland Country". The Sydney Morning Herald. Archived from the original on 28 August 2019. Retrieved 28 August 2019.
  10. ^ "Canberra Vikings vs Fijian Drua". rugby.com.au. 20 October 2019.
  11. ^ "Reports: Super Rugby set for 12 from 2022". SA Rugby Magazine. 4 November 2020. Retrieved 11 November 2020.
  12. ^ "New Zealand Rugby confirms Fiji Rugby & Moana Pasifika as preferred partners". New Zealand Rugby. 13 November 2020. Retrieved 13 November 2020.
  13. ^ "Super Rugby: Moana Pasifika, Fiji poised for 2022 inclusion as NZ Rugby shares broadcast revenue". Stuff.co.nz. 9 March 2021. Retrieved 9 March 2021.
  14. ^ "World Rugby to support Pacific Islands Super Rugby ambitions". World Rugby. 24 March 2021. Retrieved 24 March 2021.
  15. ^ "Next steps in Pacific Island professional teams journey confirmed by NZ Rugby". All Blacks. 14 April 2021. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  16. ^ "Super Rugby Pacific format confirmed". Super Rugby NZ. 30 August 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  17. ^ "Fijian Drua Set Sail In Super Rugby Pacific From 2022". Fiji Rugby Union. 3 September 2021. Retrieved 3 September 2021.
  18. ^ "Fijian Drua confirm home base for Super Rugby Pacific". RNZ. 4 November 2021. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  19. ^ a b c "Fijian Drua appoint Mick Byrne as Head Coach and Nacanieli Cawanibuka as Head of Athletic Performance" (Press release). Fijian Drua. 24 September 2021. Retrieved 24 September 2021.
  20. ^ "Match schedule for Super Rugby Pacific revealed". SANZAAR. 15 November 2021. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  21. ^ a b "Nemani Nagusa named first ever captain of the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua" (Press release). Fijian Drua. 21 January 2022. Retrieved 21 January 2022.
  22. ^ "28 August 2019". The Blue Swan Daily. 12 October 2017. Archived from the original on 28 August 2019.
  23. ^ Nath, Rachel (25 August 2017). "Fijian Drua receives major boost". FBC News. Archived from the original on 28 August 2019.
  24. ^ "Fijian Drua and New Balance announce Apparel Partnership". Fiji Rugby Union. 27 October 2021. Retrieved 27 October 2021.
  25. ^ "Top deal for team: Fijian Drua gets three-year sponsorship agreement". Fiji Times. 11 November 2021. Retrieved 11 November 2021.
  26. ^ "Australia Steps Onboard Fijian Drua Journey Through Its Pacificaus Sports Programme". Fiji Rugby Union. 16 November 2021. Retrieved 16 November 2021.
  27. ^ @Fijian_Drua (17 November 2021). "BULA! We're honoured to announce Swire Shipping as our Naming Rights Sponsor, & are absolutely delighted to unveil the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua 2022 jersey! Watch the full reveal video featuring Mick, Nemani, Chris, Naps, Tumeli, Samu, Kiti & Tui" (Tweet). Retrieved 17 November 2021 – via Twitter.
  28. ^ "Revised Super Rugby competition draw released". Fijian Drua. 23 December 2021. Retrieved 27 December 2021.
  29. ^ "Swire Shipping Fijian Drua confirm five home match venues for inaugural season". Fijian Drua. 9 February 2022. Retrieved 9 February 2022.
  30. ^ "Fijian Drua-Rebels match moved from Suncorp due to flooding". Melbourne Rebels. 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  31. ^ "Fijian Drua record largest attendance for Super Rugby Pacific 2022, preparations already underway for Drua-Chiefs in Lautoka" (Press release). Fijian Drua. 2 May 2022. Retrieved 2 May 2022.
  32. ^ @Fijian_Drua (21 November 2021). "Bula! Vinaka (thank you) @SuperRugbyNZ! We love it here" (Tweet). Retrieved 22 November 2021 – via Twitter.
  33. ^ "Swire Shipping Fijian Drua Adds Exciting Trio To 2022 Roster" (Press release). Fiji Rugby Union. 25 November 2021. Retrieved 25 November 2021.
  34. ^ "Ratu, Muntz and Sauvoli round out Drua roster" (Press release). Fijian Drua. 29 January 2022. Retrieved 29 January 2022.
  35. ^ "Flying Fijian Frank Lomani to join Swire Shipping Fijian Drua" (Press release). Fijian Drua. 1 March 2022. Retrieved 1 March 2022.
  36. ^ @Fijian_Drua (2 March 2022). "Your #FijianDrua team to face the @MelbourneRebels this Friday #SunshineCoast #HomeGame" (Tweet). Retrieved 2 March 2022 – via Twitter.
  37. ^ "Team list: Round 8 vs Brumbies" (Press release). Fijian Drua. 6 April 2022. Retrieved 6 April 2022.
  38. ^ "Winger Ilaisa Droasese joins Swire Shipping Fijian Drua, Alivereti Veitokani also joins camp" (Press release). Fijian Drua. 25 April 2022. Retrieved 26 April 2022.
  39. ^ "Fijian Drua announce coaching & management staff". Fijian Rugby Union. 15 October 2021. Retrieved 15 October 2021.
  40. ^ "Seruvakula Appointed NRC Coach". Fiji Sun. 25 July 2017. Archived from the original on 25 July 2017. Retrieved 25 July 2017.
  41. ^ "Duo for Drua". Fiji Sun. 8 July 2018. Archived from the original on 5 August 2018. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  42. ^ Nasokia, Waisea (22 August 2019). "Eremasi Radrodro leads Fijian Drua to the National Rugby Championship". The Fiji Sun. Archived from the original on 26 August 2019.
  43. ^ "Koka leads Drua". Fiji Sun. 22 August 2018. Archived from the original on 28 August 2018. Retrieved 28 August 2018.
  44. ^ "Stewart Leads Drua". Fiji Sun. 29 August 2017. Archived from the original on 29 August 2017. Retrieved 29 August 2017.

External links[edit]