NRC: Stats favour Drua against country

Fiji Drua's Frank Lomani prepares to deliver during training at International School grounds in Nadi earlier last week. Picture: BALJEET SINGH

HUNTERS have a tendency to be distracted when leaving the security of their own hunting ground to wander into the unknown.

The same can be said when we talk about rugby.

After turning on the flair and winning bonus points at home, the Fiji Airways Drua has a big question to answer today in Queensland, Australia.

How will it fare in an away game?

With two rounds in the bag and now with its first game away, the Drua is now in enemy territory to take on the might of Queensland Country in its own back yard in the third round of the National Rugby Championship (NRC).

On paper, the Drua seems the better team although they were hammered 57-21 last year in their first encounter.

The team has maintained the Fijian way of running rugby, gaining 998 metres more than Queensland and recorded clean breaks of 69 to 15, statistics from the past two games revealed.

Defensively, the Drua look tighter making 289 tackles compared with QLD’s 206.

However, Queensland Country has been unbreakable at the ruck with a 99 per cent success rate, and dominates the set piece.

The Drua’s indiscipline sees them concede the most penalties in the tournament thus far with 28 in two games.

If Country coach Rob Seib’s nine seasoned Super Rugby players can keep possession away from Senirusi Seruvakula’s flamboyant Fijians long enough, they might just frustrate the visitors to keep their record against the Drua unblemished. Queensland’s star studded line-up include Queensland Reds players James Slipper.

Harry Hockings, Angus Scott-Young, Tate McDermott, Duncan Paia’aua, Jordan Petaia Hamish Stewart and last year’s NRC top try scorer, Fijian Filipo Daugunu.

The elusive pairing in the halves of Frank Lomani and NRC Rising Star Award nominee Alifereti Veitokani will be instrumental as the Drua looks to continue momentum in its first away game.

Seruvakula is adamant that the team to run on today has what it takes to get the job done.

“We are confident that we have a squad of first choice players and the boys who come in and out of the starting line on or the bench, they know the role they have to play, and I know they will it do it well,” Seruvakula said.

Fiji Drua will take on Queensland Country today at 3pm (Fiji time) at the BB Print Stadium in Queensland.


Queensland Country: 1. Harry Hoopert – Reds/Brothers, 2. Effi Ma’afu, 3. James Slipper, 4. Harry Hockings, 5. Angus Blyth, 6. Harry Wilson, 7. Tom Kibble, 8. Angus Scott, 9. Tate McDermott, 10. Hamish Stewart, 11. Filipo Daugunu, 12. Duncan Paia’aua, 13. Jordan Petaia, 14. Jock Campbell, 15. Tom Lucas. Reserves: 16. Alex Casey, 17. Richie Asiata, 18. Jake Simeon, 19. Michael Wood, 20. Sunia Finefeuiaki, 21. James Tuttle, 22. Tony Hunt, 23. Patrick James.

Fiji Airways Drua: 1. Joeli Veitayaki, 2. Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto, 3. Mosese Ducivaki, 4. Filimoni Seru, 5. Albert Tuisue, 6. Peni Raidre, 7. Mosese Voka, 8. Eremasi Radrodro, 9. Frank Lomani, 10. Alivereti Veitokani, 11. Levani Kurumudu, 12. Cyril Reece, 13. Jona Sawailau, 14. Apete Daveta, 15. Apisalome Waqatabu. Reserves: 16. Ratunaisa Navuma, 17. Eroni Mawi, 18. Luke Tagi, 19. Tevita Naqali, 20. Jonny Dyer, 21. Peni Matawalu, 22. Serupepeli Vularika, 23. Aporosa Tabulawaki.

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