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Sampson: Fijian Drua ‘Scary’

Sampson: Fijian Drua ‘Scary’
The Fiji Airways Drua team at the ANZ Stadium on Friday September 22, 2017. Photo: Jone Luvenitoga
September 28
11:00 2017

The Canberra Vikings will need to be at their best when they play top-of-the-table and NRC newcomers Fiji Airways Drua at Viking Park tomorrow night, says Tim Sampson.

The Vikings coach aims to end the run of back to back losses against the Fijians who are making headlines after winning three out of four games so far.

Sampson said the Fiji Airways Drua have made a statement defeating the 2016 NRC finalists convincingly in the last two weeks.

“Fiji are improving every week, which is scary,” Sampson told Rugby Heaven.

“Hopefully we can try to find some weak links somewhere, but they are a pretty well-balanced team and take every opportunity they get.”

The games kick off at 9.30pm and the curtain-raiser between Canberra Fiji and Southern Inland Fiji will be at 7.55pm.



Round four of the National Rugby Championship was the one in which the Fiji Airways Drua laid down the challenge to the rest of the competition – catch us if you can.

If you didn’t see the game, and still couldn’t see the final score, a look over the stats sheet for the Fiji-Perth match would show you anything but a 41-5, six-tries-to-one thumping by the Drua over the 2016 NRC champions.

The set piece battle was quite tight, with Perth taking a slight lineout advantage, Fiji a similar edge in the scrums.

The breakdown and attack numbers show Perth well on top, winning two-and-a-half times as many rucks, carrying 70% more than Fiji, and with 50% more defenders beaten.

Flowing on from this, Fiji made twice as many tackles as Perth did, missed 50 per cent more, and they conceded 10 penalties to three.

Again, if you didn’t see the game, and still couldn’t see the final score, you’d have Perth winning reasonably well from these numbers.

Perth dominated possession, created more opportunities, made and missed way fewer tackles. There’s no way they lose on those stats.

But here’s where the story emerges – Perth conceded 26 turnovers to Fiji’s 14, and the Drua made nearly as many metres from just over half as many carries.

They attacked from turnover, and made ground for fun.

Fiji also kicked nearly twice as much as did Perth, suggesting that they ensured the game wasn’t played in their half.

Of course, from a stats sheet that indicates what should have been a close game, one stat stands above all others.

Six tries to one.

And that’s the lesson for the rest of the NRC.

Keeping the ball away from the Drua, or even playing down in their half mostly isn’t going to be enough. Even when they don’t have a lot of ball, the Fijians can still skin you.




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