Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Tagata Pasifika

The Pacific voice on
New Zealand television
since 1987

Unchanged lineup for Fijian Drua ahead of quarter final clash with Blues

Photo: Fijian Drua
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Neueli Mauafu | Reporter

Heading into their second finals playoffs in only their third season, Fijian Drua are hoping to upset Blues at home on Saturday

The Fijian Drua have named their squad for the Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific quarter final clash against the Blues in Auckland this Saturday. 

Head Coach Mick Byrne has retained his starting line-up from the win against the Melbourne Rebels last week, as the Drua make their second consecutive quarter- final appearance in just three seasons. 15 of the matchday 23 players featured for the Drua in last year’s quarter-final match.

Prop Livai Natave is at loosehead while Tevita Ikanivere starts at hooker with Mesake Doge at tighthead prop. In the middle row, Mesake Vocevoce will again partner Leone Rotuisolia 

Etonia Waqa is at blindside flanker, while Kitione Salawa remains at openside. Captain Meli Derenalagi is at number 8.

In the backline, Frank Lomani starts at halfback, partnering Isaiah Armstrong- Ravula who is at flyhalf. Waqa Nalaga remains at left wing with Selestino Ravutaumada retaining his right-wing spot. Kemu Valetini starts at inside centre with Iosefo Masi who remains at outside centre while Ilaisa Droasese is at fullback.

Over to the Blues, coach Vern Cotter made two changes from his lineup last week, with the return of Rieko Ioane at midfield and lock Josh Beehre replacing Sam Darry at lock due to concussion protocols.

Cotter said the team have sharpened their focus ahead of playing knockout rugby.

“There’s no tomorrow if you lose these games so we need to be accurate, disciplined and clear in what we want to achieve against the Drua.” 

“We know the Drua will bring a physical presence to the occasion; they always do. This week is about preparing ourselves mentally for a bruising encounter and ensuring we’re in the right headspace come Saturday night,” he said.

Cotter said the team were buoyed by the turn out at Eden Park last weekend and is calling on Blues fans to turn up in droves on Saturday night.

“A big, loud and passionate crowd really does lift the team,” he said.

“It was great having lots of fans there to welcome us off the bus at Gate A and to hear all 22,000 of them getting behind the team was special.”

“Hopefully our people can return to Eden Park on Saturday night for some finals footy – we’ll be doing everything we can to put on a good show!”

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