Sydney start for Drua

Fijian Drua doing their breathing exercises during training. Picture: NACA CAWANIBUKA/FILE

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua team will play its inaugural match In Super Rugby against the Waratahs at the CommBank Stadium in Parramatta, Western Sydney on Friday, February 18.

The team management is calling on Fijian supporters locally and abroad to rally behind the young Fijian side in the Super Rugby Pacific competition.

Fijian Drua chief executive officer Brian Thorburn said it would be a proud moment for the 23 players on February 18 to represent Fiji and Fijians everywhere.

“The 25-year dream and this incredible journey we have been waiting for will finally become a reality and it will be a moment to remember for years to come,” Thorburn said.

“We are calling on Fijian fans and rugby supporters to come out in numbers, paint CommBank Stadium blue and fill it with the sounds of Fiji.

“Let us show the rugby world what it means for Fiji to have its own team in Super Rugby.”

Tickets for the February 18 match will be available on ticketek.com.au in early February.

The team has confirmed change in plans for hosting the Waratahs in Fiji for their Round Seven match on April 1 because of the ‘no-spectator’ rule introduced by Fijian authorities last week as a result of the Omicron COVID-19 variant situation in the country.

“This match will be played at another venue in Australia, as the Drua now aims to host the Highlanders in Round 11 at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on April 30 instead.

“We would have loved to bring a match to Fiji earlier, but we totally respect and support the decision of Fijian authorities.

“Public health considerations are paramount and the Drua’s thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Fijians as they battle this Omicron wave.

“We now aim to play the Highlanders in Suva on April 30, but will have to change plans again if the ‘no-spectator’ rule remains in place.

“We’ll need a full stadium to be able to host a financially viable match in Fiji and will be guided by the authorities in these considerations.”

Meanwhile, the Drua has announced that the Round 13 match against fellow debutant, Moana Pasifika will also be played at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta on May 14.

“This will undoubtedly be a match for the ages as the Drua and Moana go head to head.

“Friendships and kava will flow after the match, but it will be fierce action on the field with high energy and high impact rugby that Pacific Islanders are renowned for.

“The boys are chomping at the bit for this particular match which will serve a treat for Fijians, Samoans, Tongans and other Pacific fans alike.”

Thorburn said several venues and cities in Australia had showed interest in hosting the Drua’s remaining home matches.

“Placing our matches as closely as possible to where Fijian fans live in Western Sydney and South-East Queensland is really important to us.

“We are carefully considering all opportunities for venues in those areas and will share the final selections with all fans as soon as possible.

“For now, we request our local area supporters to come out in numbers to catch their Drua team live in action wherever we play. Our amazing fans and the Fijian people remain at the heart of everything we do. It’s their support in the stadium as well as prayers and well wishes from home that our team will ride on every single time we take the field.”

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