SPORTS | Super Rugby

Drua Reps Warned

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua team will have to take their off-season programme seriously if it’s to lift their performance in next season’s Super Rugby Pacific competition.
30 May 2022 16:30
Drua Reps Warned
Swire Shipping Fijian Drua halfback Frank Lomani (with ball) is supported by winger Vinaya Habosi in the Super Rugby Pacific clash against Chiefs at Lautoka’s Churchill Park on May 28, 2022. Behind them is Tevita Rokovereni, who became the first Fijian to be a Super Rugby match official. Photo: Waisea Nasokia

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua team will have to take their off-season programme seriously if it’s to lift their per­formance in next season’s Super Rugby Pacific competition.

That was the gist of former Super Rugby winger, Iliesa Tanivula’s message during an interview with SUNsports after the Drua ended its Super Rugby season with a 35-34 loss to the Chiefs at Lautoka’s Churchill Park on Saturday.

Tanivula, who represented the Brumbies, Blues and Highlanders in Super Rugby reiterated the im­portance of players to be commit­ted to their off-season programme.

He said local and overseas-based players coming to join the Drua must treat the off-season pro­gramme as a top priority.

“We have to do our off-season right,” Tanivula said.

“I can assure you that most (pro­vincial) unions in our local com­petitions are not doing any off-season programme at all.

“Some are doing it for two months but if we do it for three solid months, I think we can get there.

“We have to start from the grass­roots before making it to the Drua.

“Looking back at this season, the Drua went and did their off-season programme in Australia and I know most of the boys in the team, it was their first time to be put in a three-month programme.

“It shocked their system but they must get used to it for the coming season.”

Tanivula said if the Drua play­ers do their off-season programme well they could bridge the gap with the overseas teams.

“That’s the only difference be­tween us and the overseas teams.

“They have been doing it for the last three to 10 seasons and their bodies have adapted to it.

“Our boys are getting there, they are building their physique but not their mentality.

“Once we get that right every­thing falls into place.”

Unnecessary play

“One area I have been observing and this happens in the Skipper, Vodafone Cup and now the Drua, is the unnecessary work players do off-the-ball.

“This is a total waste of energy,” Tanivula said.

“It just foul plays like late tack­les, punching, shoulder charge and these things cost us the game.

“Such play puts a lot of pressure on the team. They give away a lot of penalties and cards for the play­ers.

“They have to learn to go hard at the opposition and play 80 min­utes rugby without looking side­ways. They must focus on the job at hand.”

He said the players must also have mental resilience because at times they might lose several games or things don’t work out the way they wanted.

“They’ve to be strong in the mind. I guess the players are not really into it but they will have to concentrate on the job.

“They need to be focused and go­ing hard at the opposition for the full 80 minutes.

“We are playing facets but we have showed in a few of our games that we can compete up there. So we must be consistent with our entire game.

“We just have to play our style of rugby, we just have to put it to­gether for 80 minutes and be con­sistent week in and out,” Tanivula added.


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