Super Rugby Pacific: Fijian Drua in for a big battle

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua winger Eroni Sau gives the thumbs up during a training session at their home base in Nadi yesterday. The side faces the Melbourne Rebels in round six of the 2023 Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Saturday. Kick off is at 3.35pm. Picture: FIJIAN DRUA

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne said they are in for a mouth-watering clash this Saturday against the Melbourne Rebels, a team they had played more than any other teams in the Super Rugby Pacific competition.

Before their game on Saturday, the Drua faced the Rebels outfit four times, having played two pre-season games, one before their inaugural Super Rugby Pacific season last year with other one in late January this year where the Drua defeated them by 24-0.

In the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season, the Drua played the Rebels twice, losing against them by 42-27 and then bouncing back to defeat them by 31-26.

“We probably played the Rebels more than any other team,” Byrne said.

“They are a well-coached side and the players are responding and I am sure they would not change their style of play,” Bryne said.

He highlighted that their pre-season win against the Rebels did not have any Wallabies and they were a “different squad” now.

“When they played the pre-season here, they did not have any Wallabies players and couple of players have come back to their squad, so they are a completely different squad.”

Bryne said they were expecting a fast and physical game similar to the style that the Fijian Drua outfit execute on the field.

“They did really well on the weekend against the Reds, carrying the ball around the corner and then come right into your face in terms of attack, and they are a good physical team.

“Defensively, we have to win the race around the corner this week and attack as well.”

In order to win, Bryne said the Drua had to set the pace early in the game.

“We have to work hard to ensure that we are set early and able to go forward but we also expecting the Rebels to play their style of rugby – fast and physical and we would like to think that is what we play as well, so it should be an entertaining affair in Suva.”

Bryne said the Rebels had made good improvements and both their attack and defence has really jelled in.

“They come out hard and run with the ball, taking it upfront and of course that is something we pride ourselves on and we are looking forward to the clash.”

The Kevin Foote-coached Melbourne Rebels face the Fijian Drua this Saturday at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva at 3.35pm.

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