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Maikeli Seru
Saturday, November 04, 2017

EXPECT to see a lot of changes in the Fiji Airways Drua when it plays Queensland Country in Toowoomba, Australia, this afternoon in the semi-finals of the National Rugby Championship (NRC).

During the week, coach Senirusi Seruvakula, said one of the changes would be how their opponents would defend their turf this afternoon after they won 24-17 in Fiji in round eight.

The other changes are the possibilities of some players missing the team next year because of possible lure of overseas contracts, and if the Fiji Rugby Union will stick to winning coach Seruvakula, who made history in Fiji's maiden trip in the annual competition.

But what is at hand is important, said FRU chief executive officer John O'Connor.

"Now it is important that they make the opportunity. When we launched the Drua, our intention was to reach the final. We are still on the path to get there. The players have been urged to go out there to play their best for themselves, for their families and for Fiji," he said after the team left for Australia from Nausori International Airport yesterday.

"Nobody gave us a chance. From the comments in the Australian media, nobody rated us because it is our first year and it will be very difficult for us to move forward. It was a good thing because we are the underdogs. The players know that this is our maiden journey and where we will end depends on them. We are here now in the semi-finals and we need to finish the job."

He expects the tournament to be more competitive from next year because of the presence of the Fijian Drua, a team in its first year and scoring upsets and even reaching the semi-finals today.

"This is an opportunity for our local players. It is a pathway into the Flying Fijians and also overseas. It reiterates the conviction that our local boys have the potential, but they need to be given opportunities as pathways and prepare them to compete with overseas-based players in the Flying Fijians."

He could not confirm if any player has been approached for a contract abroad.

"There is no approach on the players to come to me officially, probably on individual players, but the FRU has to be involved because they are contracted. We make sure that they play in the right environment and come and play in the Flying Fijians."

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