Congratulations are in order

Fiji Airways Drua player Levani Kurumudu scores a try against Canberra Vikings during their match in the National Rugby Championship at Churchill Park Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

THE Fiji Drua maintained its unbeaten home record in the National Rugby Championship at the weekend. The Drua ended a hard fought clash with a 40-35 victory over the Canberra Vikings at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Saturday.
The Vikings took a shock lead in the first 10 minutes, however, the Fiji Drua hit back, opening up the game at pace to blow the Canberra Vikings’ defence off its feet, scoring five tries in less than 30 minutes to post a handy 33-7 lead.
The Drua led 33-14 at half time.
The Vikings bounced back in the second spell, running in three converted tries to regain the lead before Lepani Kurumudu scored the decisive try for the Drua in the 60th minute. Then the hard work continued to hold back a strong final surge from the Vikings.
Drua coach Senirusi Seruvakula embraced the maximum points from the fixture, however, expressed disappointment with what he termed as “unnecessary off-loading”, as his players opened up the game.
The players, Seruvakula said, should have had patience and kept their options open.
“We made a lot of errors in the second half and we can’t afford to do that at this level.
“We need to play smart. They need to have patience and keep possession at all times.
“We can’t play open rugby for the whole 80 minutes,” he said.
“There are times when you need to throw the ball but there are times when you can’t afford to throw the 50/50 passes.
“Sometimes it affects us as there is a turnover and the opposition turns up scoring tries.” Vikings coach Nick Scrivener said their first half performance was disappointing.
He said the Fiji Drua took advantage of their mistakes to post 33 points.
“The message at half time was to tighten up, control the ball better and get more field possession. We showed character to get back and I think we dropped the ball over the line towards the end of the match,” he said.
Surely such games are important for the development of Fijian rugby.
They expose our top local players to a different level of competition.
This is critical when we consider the need for our local players to lift their game. It is another step up from the local competitions and hopefully should raise our competition at home. The bigger picture though is one where we get as many of our local players as possible to make the transition to the Flying Fijians.
That, hopefully, will start with the end-of-year tour this year. Congratulations are in order for the Drua. All eyes are now focused on the elimination stages of the competition.
Go Drua, go.

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