Start strong, be patient and grind them down, that is the instruction from Head Coach Senirusi Seruvakula to the Fiji Airways Drua team set to play Canberra Vikings at Churchill Park this Saturday.
Seruvakula has made minimal changes to the 23 man squad who defeated NSW Country in Suva last week, with Peni Naulago returning to the second row and Cyril Reece into the centres.
Young Flying Fijian Veremalua Vugakoto comes back into the squad at 16 and Enele Malele resumes his place after overcoming an ankle injury.
“We need to start well this weekend, be physical and hard in our defence and run them into the ground” he said.
Canberra Vikings are renowned for playing physical rugby and Seruvakula knows the team from the Australian capital will be looking to suffocate the Fijian playing style similar to QLD Country a few weeks ago.
“We know we will have a physical battle this weekend, our front row will have to dig in and do the big job in front of them.” he said
“We just have to place them under pressure by being patient, doing the hard work, being ruthless in the breakdown and running them into the ground, similar to Brisbane City.”
With just two games left in the regular season, the Drua are in top position with the Vikings at their heels in third making this weekend’s victory critical to the chase of securing a home semi final.
Something Seruvakula says is not clouding his player’s minds.
“It’s about playing smart rugby, patient rugby and disciplined rugby. We dont have to score all the tries in the first five minutes.”
“The boys just need to concentrate on the challenge in front of them, keep possession, support each other in the contact, be there in back up when the line breaks come, then the game will open up” he said.
After almost two seasons in the competition Seruvakula says he can see huge progress in his squad’s development and experience, which he hopes will pay dividends as finals approach.
“I’m really proud of how far the boys have come so far. They have learnt so much and come along way in terms of backing up and competing at this level.”
“There is always more improvement to be made, and we aren’t there yet, but I know this weekend at Churchill Park, we will see them go to another level.”
The Fiji Airways Drua play Canberra Vikings at Churchill Park, Lautoka this Saturday 6th October. With a full programme of rugby across the day including Fijiana 15’s at 10.30am, Wardens v NFA at 12.30pm and the main NRC game at 3pm, there’s no place better to be than the Sugar City.
Tickets are $10 Grandstand, $5 embankment, children under 12 free – from Lautoka City Council and the FRU.
Round 6 NRC – Fiji Airways Drua team to face Canberra Vikings
Saturday 6th October, 3pm
Churchill Park, Lautoka.
1. Joeli Veitayaki
2. Mesulame Dolokoto
3. Alifereti Rabukawaqa
4. Peni Naulago
5. Albert Tuisue
6. Mosese Voka
7. Jone Navori
8. Eremasi Radrodro
9. Frank Lomani
10. Alivereti Veitokani
11. Aporosa Tabulawaki
12. Cyril Reece
13. Avete Daveta
14. Levani Kurumudu
15. Apisalome Waqatabu
16. Veremalua Vugakoto
17. Eroni Mawi
18. Luke Tagi
19. Tevita Naqali
20. Johnny Dyer
21. Seru Vularika
22. Enele Malele
23. Peni Raidre