The depth and versatility of the Fiji Airways Drua playing list will be utilised in their round 3 match against Queensland Country in Mackay this Saturday.
With the team approaching a two game stint in Australia and off the back of a couple of injuries, Head Coach Senirusi Seruvakula has tweaked his line up slightly to manage the load on his playing roster whilst not impacting the momentum the side has built in the first two rounds.
Filimoni Seru will return to the starting 15 replacing Peni Naulago at number 4, Jona Saiwalau will start at 13, Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto will slide back into the starting hooker role and Avete Daveta will resume his place on the wing.
“We are confident that we have a squad of first choice players” said Seruvakula.
“The boys who come in and out of the starting line on or the bench, they know the role they have to play, and I know they will it do it well.”
Dynamic scrum half Peni Matawalu will earn his first jersey on the bench for the Drua in 2018, returning from an ankle injury and set to back up Frank Lomani, who has had a stellar start to the season.
“Peni comes in with a smiliar game style to Frank who has had two great matches, and has played over 70 minutes in each match, so it will be good to give him some relief.”
Versatility across the loose forwards and lock position this weekend will be critical for the Drua as they face a QLD Country side who will be looking to constrict and slow down the pace of the Fijians game.
“Fili (Seru) played most of last season at lock for us and with that slight switch up in our tight 5 we hope to keep the speed of the game up.”
“We know QLD Country will want to disrupt our game and cause us to slow down, so we want to keep the pressure on with our mix of pace and power.”
Lautoka native Jona Saiwalau will start in outside centre following an impressive debut against Brisbane City, where the strong running utility slotted across from the wing following an injury to the in-form Poasa Waqanibau.
“Jona showed us his capability last weekend when he moved across to 13, spending most of the game there.”
Speedy winger Avete Daveta will also return to the starting 15 after a week on the side line with soreness.
“Daveta will come back on to the wing and that gives QLD another threat to think about down the side line and another strong body in our defensive line.”
The Fiji Airways Drua play Queensland Country in Mackay, Australia this Saturday 15th September at 3pm Fiji Time, follow the match at rugby.com.au.
ROUND 3 NRC – Fiji Airways Drua team to play QLD Country
Saturday 15th September, 1.00pm AEST / 3.00pm FJT
BB Print Stadium, Mackay, Queensland
1. Joeli Veitayaki
2. Ratu Veremalua Vugakoto
3. Mosese Ducivaki
4. Filimoni Seru
5. Albert Tuisue
6. Peni Raidre
7. Mosese Voka
8. Eremasi Radrodro
9. Frank Lomani
10. Alivereti Veitokani
11. Levani Kurumudu
12. Cyril Reece
13. Jona Sowailau
14. Apete Daveta
15. Apisalome Waqatabu
16. Ratunaisa Navuma
17. Eroni Mawi
18. Luke Tagi
19. Tevita Naqali
20. Jonny Dyer
21. Peni Matawalu
22. Serupepeli Vularika
23. Aporosa Tabulawaki