Fiji Airways Drua Head Coach, Senirusi Seruvakula has today released the names of the Fiji Airways Drua Squad that will represent Fiji in the 2018 National Rugby Championship (NRC).
The Fiji Airways Drua will kick off the 2018 National Rugby Championship with two home matches against the Melbourne rising and Brisbane City.
The fifth season of Australia’s National Rugby Championship will see the tournament contested under a new format and reduced from nine to eight teams. The Greater Sydney Rams from NSW are no longer involved in the NRC moving forward. The tournament will be played over seven consecutive weeks, with an additional two weeks of finals.
The eight teams for the 2018 NRC season include the Canberra Vikings, NSW Country Eagles, the Sydney Rays, Brisbane City, Queensland Country, Melbourne Rising, Western Force and the Fiji Airways Drua.
The Fiji Airways Drua team provides a pathway for Fiji rugby players vying for a spot in the Swire Shipping Warriors and the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians teams.
The Fiji Airways Drua squad sees a good combination of experienced and young players who have either represented the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians, Swire Shipping Fiji Warriors and have played in the FRU’s Provincial Competition. The team will play their first match against Melbourne Rising at Ratu Cakobau Park in Nausori, when the season kicks off on Saturday, 1 September.
Coach Seruvakula says that the competition will be more competitive than last year.
“We have less than three weeks to prepare and are racing against time. My main concern right now is to prepare the team for the tough competition that we have ahead of us.”
“There are only seven teams in this year’s competition and there is no bye, which means that we will be playing every week, so there is a need for the team to maintain consistency in their training and recovery.”
All players named in the extended 33 player squad except for the Naitasiri players that are currently involved in the final 2018 HFC Bank Farebrother Challenge are required to march into camp on Thursday, 9 August at the Penninsula Hotel in Suva with their passports and relevant training equipment for the team’s first two day camp.
Suva based players are required to be at the Penninsula Hotel at 12pm, while the bus will pick up the Western based players will begin from Tappoos in Lautoka at 7am. The additional pick-up locations are at Tappoos, Nadi and Pacific Energy Petrol Station, Sigatoka.
Players that have been named in the Shadow Squad are on standby and are NOT required to assemble in camp but should continue with their Daily Training Exercises (DTE) at the HPU Gyms closest to them.
The Fiji Airways Drua Selected Extended Team:
Forwards – Eroni Mawi, Joeli Veitayaki, Mateo Qolisese, Ratunaisa Navuma, Mesulame Dolokoto, Vugakoto Veremalua, Mosese Ducivaki, Luke Tagi, Alivereti Rabukawaqa, Tevita Naqali, Peni Naulago, Albert Tuisue, Mosese Voka, Johnny Dyer Jone Navori, Filimoni Seru, Eremasi Radrodro, Peni Raidre.
Backs – Serupepeli Vularika, Frank Lomani, Peni Matawalu, Alivereti Veitokani, Jone Manu, Cyril Reece, Jona Sawailau, Poasa Waqanibau, Apisalome Vota, Asesela Atunaisa, Avete Daveta, Levani Kurumudu, Aporosa Tabulawaki, Apisalome Waqatabu, Enele Malele.
Shadow Players – Atunaisa Maiono, Seru Cakobau, Penijamini Makutu, Samuela Saqiwa, Sailosi Dawai, Elia Canakaivata, Aisea Natoga, Veramu Dikidikilati, Peni Vukayawa, Apenisa Deve, Joseva Turuva, Asesela Ratudamu.