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Fijian Drua unveils the first group of five exciting players.

The Fijian Drua has today unveiled the first five players signed by the Club for its debut Super Rugby Pacific season in 2022. Electric backline utility Napolioni Bolaca, Flying Fijians’ hooker Tevita Ikanivere, blockbusting winger Onisi Ratave, powerful loose forward Nemani Nagusa and rising star halfback Simione Kuruvoli are onboard for Super Rugby Pacific’s newest side.

The five also attained the coveted 1 through 5 ‘Drua Numbers’, with Olympic Gold Medalist Bolaca honoured as Fijian Drua Number 1. All players in the squad will be assigned a number they will retain for life. The numbering system is based on a combination of factors, which include the Club’s depth chart and sign up commitments from each player.

Interim Fijian Drua CEO Brian Thorburn said the Club was delighted to make its maiden squad-related announcement: “We’re steaming ahead towards our historic first season, and today’s naming signals our intentions – we are going to delight rugby fans with that typical Fijian flair and playing style. It also underscores our commitment to offer a pathway for Fijian players into Super rugby. The competition is about to get a whole lot more exciting, and we can’t wait for rugby fans to see our Fijian Drua in action.”

The Fijian Drua will announce a further 32 players over the next several weeks.

Thorburn added: “The inclusion of Napolioni Bolaca Fijian Drua Number 1 is well deserved. He exemplifies some of the key values of our Club, and plays the game with pure joy and heart. ‘Naps’ is an excitement machine with a ‘never say die’ attitude in whichever position he plays. Of course, Fijian rugby fans are familiar with what he tells himself when he is tired.”

Fiji Rugby General Manager High Performance Unit Simon Raiwalui said the today’s announcement sets the foundation for what fans could expect from the full squad.

“All five players unveiled today are homegrown and have come through our Fiji Airways Fijian 7s, Age-Group or High Performance programmes. It is wonderful to be able to reward these players with a professional contract to play in the world’s best club rugby competition.”

Raiwalui expanded on the attributes of the first tranche of players.

“Naps is World Rugby Sevens Series’ top point scorer for 2019/2020, and will be an excellent backline utility option in the squad as a flyhalf, fullback or winger.”

“Hooker Tevita Ikanivere has a wonderful story. He was the Fiji-U20 Captain in 2018 when the side won the World Rugby Under-20 Trophy to gain promotion into the 2019 World Rugby U20 Championship. Tevita has played for the Fiji Warriors (2019; 2 caps), the former NRC Drua (2019; 7 caps) and has a Flying Fijians cap to his name (2020 Autumn Nations Cup against Georgia).”

“Winger Onisi Ratave has been part of the extended Fijian 7s and Flying Fijians squads in 2021. He is currently making waves for Bay of Plenty in New Zealand’s NPC competition, and will bring the same speed and power to the Fijian Drua.”

“Nemani Nagusa returns home with valuable international experience with Stade Aurillacois Cantal Auvergne in France’s Pro D2 and the Newcastle Falcons in England’s Premiership. As a former 7s player, he possesses power and offload skills and will be a valuable addition to the back-row.”

“Finally, Simione Kuruvoli is yet another home-grown star who has come through the ranks of the Fiji U-20s and Fiji Warriors. He already has two Flying Fijians caps, and really held his own against the world’s best halfback earlier this year when we played the All Blacks. This is just reward for his patience and toil over these years.”

The Fijian Drua will also reveal its coaching staff shortly. A new brand, website, social channels will also follow, along with a number of exciting membership options for fans and juniors.

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PLAYER PROFILES

 

Name: Napolioni Bolaca

Fijian Drua Number: 1

Age: 24

Position: Backline Utility (Fly half, Winger, Fullback)

Provincial Team: Yasawa

 

Playing Record

2018-2020: World Rugby Sevens Series – 35 matches, 19 tries

 

Achievements

2019/2020: Top point Scorer World Rugby Sevens Series

2019/2020: Pressure Play Award for best try in the Sevens Series 

2019/2020: World Rugby Sevens Series Dream Team

2021: Tokyo Olympics Gold Medalist 

 

World Rugby Sevens Highlights: https://www.world.rugby/video/565114 

 

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Name: Tevita Ikanivere

Fijian Drua Number: 2

Age: 22

Position: Hooker

Provincial Team: Suva

 

Playing Record

2020: Flying Fijians (1 cap)

2019: Australia National Rugby Championship – Drua (7 caps) 

2018/2019: Fiji Under 20 (8 caps) 

2019: Fiji Warriors (2 caps)

 

Achievements

2018: Fiji Under 20 Captain when team got promoted to World Rugby Junior Championship after winning the World Junior Trophy.

2019: Part of the Flying Fijians extended squad for Rugby World Cup

2019: Part of the Flying Fijians squad which beat Barbarians during November tour.

 

Watch: 2019 Interview following World Junior Trophy win https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=371532250382193 

 

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Name: Onisi Ratave 

Fijian Drua Number: 3

Age: 29 years 

Position: Outside Center, Winger

Provincial Team: Namosi

 

Playing Record

2021: New Zealand National Provincial Championship – Bay of Plenty

 

Achievements

2020/2021: Fijian 7s extended squad 

2021: Flying Fijians extended squad for All Blacks 

 

Video: RD 2 HIGHLIGHTS | Southland v Bay of Plenty (Bunnings NPC 2021) – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fKUgsILrOKA 

 

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Name: Nemani Nagusa

Fijian Drua Number: 4

Age: 33 years

Position: Back-Row

Provincial Team: Nadroga

 

Playing Record:

2012 to 2019:  Flying Fijians {18caps}

2012 to 2016: Part of Fijian 7s extended squad.

2012: Test Debut against Georgia

2019: Last Test Match for Flying Fijians V Maori All Blacks

 

Achievements

2013: Captain of the Fijian 7s side which won the Hong Kong 7s title beating Wales 26-19 in the final.

2015: Captain of the Fijian Warriors side which won the Pacific Rugby Championship.

2016: Part of the Fijian 7s extended squad for Rio Olympics.

2019: Part of the Flying Fijians extended squad for Rugby World Cup in Japan.

 

Video: Hong Kong 7s 2013 highlights where Nagusa lifts the prestigious trophy with the Fijian 7s players 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=–7ZqKkbpDg

 

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Name: Simione Kuruvoli

Fijian Drua Number: 5

Age: 22 years

Position: Halfback

Provincial Team: Tailevu

 

Playing Record

2018/2019: Fiji Under 20

2019: Fiji Warriors

2020/2021 Flying Fijians {2 caps}

 

Achievements

2020: Made his debut for Flying Fijians in the Autumn Nations Cup during the November tour.

2021: Played a key role for Flying Fijians V All Blacks.

2019: Part of the Fijian 7s extended squad and participated at the Oceania 7s.

 

Match Highlight of Flying Fijians V All Blacks https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IqGBxFEcVLM

 

© Fiji Rugby 2021