Super Rugby Pacific: Queensland Reds wary of tough Fijian Drua

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua's Emosi Tuqiri and Apisalome Vota at the team's training run before kick off against the Crusaders for their Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific bout at Churchill Park, Lautoka. Picture: REPEKA NASIKO

The hard-fought 33-28 victory over the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua last year is still fresh in the minds of the Queensland Reds players and a reminder of what the hosts can expect during their Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific clash in Brisbane on Sunday.

“They’re really here to compete,” Reds backrower Liam Wright told reporters on Tuesday.

The Reds will have this weekend to prove they are a big force in the competition after they were beaten by the Brumbies 17-23 last weekend.

The side has one win from three games in this year’s competition and know the Drua, who are two from three, will come in on a high after their 25-24 win over the defending champions, Crusaders.

The two losses will be the driving force for the Reds against the Drua.

Rugby Pass reported the Drua’s lack of late-game composure was all that denied them a huge upset at Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane last year, at a ground that has been a stronghold for the Reds under coach Brad Thorn.

The Reds were up 28-9 with 18 minutes to play, with miracle play from Fiji-born star Seru Uru to escape with a 33-28 victory.

“You look at that game, (we had a) comfortable lead, sniffing for bonus points, took our foot off the gas and suddenly we were at risk of losing the match,” Wright said.

“And that’s how quickly they can turn it.

“(Victory against defending champions the Crusaders) showed that they’re really here to compete.

“Last year they were a really tough opponent but that showed the level they’ve stepped up to … they’re ready to finish games, which is where they fell apart a bit last year. “It’s just a warning sign really.”

The match kicks off at 5pm Fiji time.

Reds: (1-15): Dane Zander, Matt Faessler, Zane Nonggorr, Ryan Smith, Seru Uru, Liam Wright (co-c) Fraser McReight, Harry Wilson, Tate McDermott (co-c), James O’Connor, Filipo Daugunu, Taj Annan, Josh Flook, Jordan Petaia, Jock Campbell

Reserves: Richie Asiata, Sef Fa’agase, Peni Ravai, Jake Upfield, Connor Vest, Kalani Thomas, Tom Lynagh, Suliasi Vunivalu

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