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Super Drua Set Sail, Bolaca For No.10

“Napolioni is a target at 10, the great benefit- he is of utility use, he can play at 10, 15 and wing. He has played at the highest level and obviously winning a gold medal. “And with HSBC series he will bring that experience on and off the field, he will be part of the 10 group but he is also a huge potential in other areas as well.”
21 Sep 2021 13:04
Super Drua Set Sail, Bolaca For No.10
Napolioni Bolaca, Nemani Nagusa, Tevita Ikanivere, Simione Korovuli and Onisi Ratave.

A member of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medal winning team was among the first five players confirmed for the Fijian Drua to play in Super Rugby Pacific beginning February.

Playmaker Napolioni Bolaca is earmarked for the No. 10 jumper. He was named alongside former Flying Fijians No. 8 Nemani Nagusa, who finished his contract with Newcastle Falcons; Flying Fijians halfback Simione Kuruvoli; Suva hooker Tevita Ikanivere; and Bay of Plenty sensation Onisi Ratave.

Fijian Drua franchise interim chief executive officer Brian Thorburn during the announcement of the first five said all the players would be assigned a number they will retain for life. The numbering system is based on a combination of factors, which include the club’s depth chart and sign up commitments from each player.

The five players attained the coveted 1 through 5 ‘Drua Numbers’, with Olympic gold medallist Bolaca being honoured as Fijian Drua Number 1.

Napolioni Bolaca will have to shift his focus to fifteens rugby in the next two years.

This was after Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medallist was among the first batch of players announced yesterday by the Fijian Drua franchise interim chief executive officer Brian Thorburn.

Bolaca was named along with former Fijian Under-20 captain, Tevita Ikanivere, Bay of Plenty winger Onisi Ratave, former Flying Fijians No.8 Nemani Nagusa and rising star halfback Simione Kuruvoli.

Nagusa moved back to Fiji after he completed his contract with Newcastle Falcons in England.

Thorburn said the Drua players are to march into camp at the end of October and have their first training run in November.

The Super Rugby Pacific competition gets underway in February.

It was confirmed that 20 players have signed their contracts.

“Having these five players was the right way to kick off and we will roll out more next week.

“We plan to assemble shortly before October 15 and march into quarantine; we go into out training camp from the first of November onwards,”Thorburn added.

Fiji Rugby Union High PerformanceUnit general manager, Simon Raiwaluisaid the only challenge in selecting players was time constraints.

“We have a chart, it is quite extensive we go through that chart and recruited the best we’ve can, it’s been a short period of time.

“We have signed 20 as of now, we got 27 contracts out and 34 players are of interest at the moment.

“We are blessed in Fiji that we have the talent, the players are primarily limited to the Southern Hemisphere, Fiji and also looking at Australia and New Zealand.”

Offer

Bolaca is targeted to play at first five-eight.

“He has been contracted for two years, where he will prioritise the Drua throughout the whole Super Rugby season,” Raiwalui said.

“Obviously there is a space in between at the end of the Super Rugby season through to the start of next pre-season and Super Rugby season, so we will have to determine what certain players do.

“There is an option to that but we will look at it strategically when it comes to that.

“Napolioni is a target at 10, the great benefit- he is of utility use, he can play at 10, 15 and wing. He has played at the highest level and obviously winning a gold medal. “And with HSBC series he will bring that experience on and off the field, he will be part of the 10 group but he is also a huge potential in other areas as well.”

Asked if some players rejected the Drua offer, Raiwalui responded: “We have players that we have targeted but have signed contract elsewhere but that was due to time restraint. But we started recruiting there have been no players who have rejected the Drua offer.”

The Fijian Drua team is expected to go into quarantine by October 15.

Edited by Leone Cabenatabua

Feedback: sereana.salalo@fijisun.com.fj



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