Tela For Drua’s No.10 Jersey

Tuidraki, Bolaca make playmaker’s list while einjured Veitokani still needs time to recover.
27 Oct 2021 15:30
Tela For Drua’s No.10 Jersey
Fijian Latui player, Teti Tela during team training at Bedesi Park on March 12, 2020. Photo: Ronald Kumar.

Teti Tela is one of the two key playmakers named in the Fijian Drua squad for February’s Super Rugby Pacific competition.

The Flying Fijians first five- eight has had Super Rugby experience when he represented Queensland Reds.

Interim Fijian Drua franchise chief executive officer, Brian Thorburn, said Tela’s inclusion is a boost to the backline.

“Teti has been part of the wider Flying Fijians set-up for a couple of years, and starred in that famous non-test victory for Fiji over the Barbarians in 2019,” Thorburn said.

Tela’s tactical play and sharp vision of kicking the ball deep into opposition territory to gain set pieces advantage will be vital for the Drua especially with the new 50/22 kicking rule in place. This is coupled with his goal kicking accuracy.

The other playmaker is Naitasiri and former Fijian Warriors first five-eight Tuidraki Samusamuvodre.

Veteran Alivereti Veitokani has been named in the wider Drua squad since he is recovering from an injury.

“Samusamuvodre recently has been playing for the New England Freejacks in the US Major League Rugby; he offers the coaching staff some excellent options in the backline while the Drua will organise for Veitokani’s assessment and rehabilitation in 2022, in close partnership with the Fiji Rugby Union.

“He is slated for a return to top-level rugby with the Fijian Drua for the 2023 Super Rugby season, to be in the frame for selectors’ consideration for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.”

Tela, Samusamuvodre and Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games gold medallist Napolioni Bolaca will play the crucial role at playmaker.


Other players’ named

Thorburn also confirmed the inclusion of Flying Fijians’ Mesulame Dolokoto and Counties Manukau’s Zuriel Togiatama for the hooker position.

Mesu is one of Fiji’s best hookers, and has consistently featured on most Flying Fijians’ international tours and test matches since his debut.

He also brings strong international professional experience as well, given his time with Glasgow Warriors in Europe and Tasman Makos in New Zealand’s National Provincial Championship (NPC).

“Zuriel has solid credentials, and his inclusion creates strong, healthy competition among the hookers in our squad.

“He is raring to go at Super Rugby level and we look forward to him joining our squad.”

Named in the squad to strengthen the front row is Bay of Plenty and Flying Fijians prop Haereiti Hetet.

Livewire lanky Nadi flanker Viliame Miramira and Counties Manukau star lock Viliame Rarasea have forced their way into the Drua squad.

“Viliame has featured consistently in New Zealand’s NPC over a number of years. He is another ball-carrying lock, adding depth to our squad and looking to fight for a place among a solid group of locks. Vilive, has been a standout on the local scene and now has the chance to impress the coaching staff and fight for a place among big group of loose forwards in our squad,” Thorburn said.

“Vilive is a pure domestic product whose hard work and consistency rewards him with a professional Super Rugby contract. We know that it will serve as inspiration for all players in our domestic competitions to keep turning up and grab the attention of selectors for higher honours. This, of course, is one of the key objectives for the Fijian Drua,” Thorburn said.

The Drua have now announced 34 players, with a handful more expected to be confirmed and announced in the coming weeks.




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