Doge rates young guns

Vodafone Flying Fijian players from left, Mesake Doge, Josua Tuisova, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Vinaya Habosi and Simione Kuruvoli pictured with young cousins, Malia Senibua, 6, and Patricia Talau, 6, at the Vodafone Triangle in Suva on Friday, July 01, 2022. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Vodafone Flying Fijians prop Mesake Doge believes the inclusion of the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua team in the Super Rugby Pacific competition is a breath of fresh air for Fijian rugby. Doge, who is now considered a veteran among Fijian rugby props, said it was good to be home and among some young and rising stars.

“It is a good feeling to be back,” said Doge. “It had been a while since I was here and it is good to meet the young players coming through the ranks. It adds a good depth to the Flying Fijians because it has always been something we needed for a number of years.”

The 29-year-old, who plays for Dragons in the Pro14 competition in Wales, rates the Fijian Drua players highly saying they bring a different style of play into the team.

“They bring a different type of mindset. Competitions in the Northern Hemisphere are different to the competitions in the Southern Hemisphere. Playing Super Rugby is different and it brings an outburst of Fijian rugby. They are very capable and talented players and our role as older players to help them as much as we can in this Pacific Nations Cup competition.”

With 16 on the 34-member Flying Fijians squad from the Fijian Drua squad, Doge said it built depth in the national team. “It is one area we struggled with recalling countless years where we play well in the first 15 minutes and then slack off a bit later. With Super Rugby being introduced, players get acclimatised to higher levels of competitions which is good for Fijian rugby. These players help us a lot. It is not easy playing a year of rugby as you can tell some of the players are coming into camp with battle scars, so with the Drua boys in camp, it is a pretty good mix.”

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