17 August, 2018, 9:49 am
PLAYING for the Fiji Airways Drua side is a platform for local players to secure overseas contract as proven by 2018 HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Rookie of the Year Eroni Sau.
Sau’s impressive outing for the Senirusi Seruvakula-coached side attracted the eyes of Fiji Airways Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber before securing overseas rugby contract in France.
Other players that secured contracts included Kalivati Tawake for the Waratahs and Frank Lomani with the Melbourne Rebels.
Tawake has moved to France while Lomani still has another chance to prove his worth with the Drua this year.
Seruvakula said the onus was on the players to fully maximise the opportunity and perform consistently well in the competition to attract overseas rugby scouts.
He said this year’s team was much better than last year and the chance was high for those local boys to secure overseas contracts.
“This is a platform for local players to secure contract overseas,” said Seruvakula. “We have a lot of good players this year and the team is better than last year.”
Seruvakula said the inclusion of 11 Flying Fijians would boost the team’s campaign in its second year of NRC participation.
He said Australian teams had studied the Drua’s game styles and knew what to expect from the Fijians.
“Last year was our first year and all Australia teams didn’t notice how we are going to play. “This year they will be ready for us and the competition will be tougher.”
He said the ultimate aim was to improve from where they left off last season and discipline was one area the team needed to work on.
“We need to step up our preparation like we are doing now. “Our main target is to do better than last year and work on areas we need to improve. “Discipline is one area we really need to improve on.”
The side will face Melbourne Rising in its opening game on September 1 at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori.