Rugby

Drua’s Super Rugby Move

FRU chair confirms talks are ongoing with NZ, Australia  Need for bigger sponsorships and Government support
09 Oct 2020 13:51
Drua’s Super Rugby Move
Drua product and halfback Frank Lomani now plays for Melbourne Rebels in the Super Rugby AU competition. Photo: Melbourne Rebels

The Fiji Rugby Union is determined to find a home for the Fijian Drua side in Super Rugby.

This was revealed by FRU board chairman Conway Beg.

“That’ll be either in New Zealand or Australia,” Beg said..

Beg said FRU’s bid to join the New Zealand competition is still under discussion and talks with Rugby Australia are also ongoing.

The Drua rugby team are made up of local-based players and they have had a successful run in Australia’s National Rugby Championship.

The Drua first participated in 2017 where they reached the semi-final. The Fijians won the NRC the following year and also held the Horan-Little Shield.

Last year, with a new-look side they again reached the semifinals where they lost 28-27 to Canberra Vikings.

Eight of the Drua players made it to the Flying Fijians squad with five playing at last year’s Rugby World Cup in Japan.

Drua coach Senirusi Seruvakula believes they could hold their own in Super Rugby Aotearoa.

“We’ve got a lot of talent here in Fiji and they need a competition like Super Rugby and competition like the NRC (in Australia),” he said.

“That was a big opportunity for the local players to play in those kind of competitive competitions and to be included and into Super Rugby that’s a big bonus for them because of the talent we have here.”

Seruvakula, who guided the Drua to the 2018 NRC title in just their second season in the Australian domestic competition, added that Fiji is significantly disadvantaged by not having a professional franchise.

The COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of the 2020 editions of the NRC and Global Rapid Rugby, which featured the Fijian Latui, and there is no confirmation of either competition returning in 2021.

Having a Fijian presence in whatever form Super Rugby takes next year would go some way to levelling the playing field, but Seruvakula conceded the financial constraints that come with that could prove challenging.

“To be honest it’s going to be hard for Fiji Rugby. To go through and get all those contracts Fiji Rugby needs backing from the government.

“They need backing from bigger sponsorships from companies to get all those across the board,” he told Radio NZ.

“If it happens this is a first thing for Fiji Rugby: getting big contracts for big players to play for that Fijian team.

“It hasn’t happened for the Drua, they only get allowances, for Latui only allowances and for Flying Fijians they’re never contracted, they only get allowances – so to make this happen it’s a new thing for Fiji Rugby.”

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