The Fiji Rugby Union revealed the 2017 Fiji National Rugby Championship (NRC) team name and kit during the official launch at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva today.
The team will now officially be known as the Fijian Drua team and is synonymous with the Drua, a historic Fijian double canoe which was the largest and finest sea-going vessel ever designed and built. It was also the battleship choice for any central Oceania naval commander. Their main role was as war ships, taking part in naval battles and transporting warriors during raids. The speed of Druas became a legend for western sailors, who sometimes confused “Fijian canoes” with “flying proas” (a type of multihull sailboat).
Being officially called the Fijian Drua team reflects the history of the Drua that links tradition and heritage with a modern style as the team embarks on a new journey to battle it out at the Australian NRC Competition for the first time, beginning September 2 in Brisbane.
FRU Chairman Commander Kean said that following extensive research and deliberations they had decided to name the team the Fijian Drua as it encapsulates the history and success of one of Fiji’s sacred, traditional and historic war ships that inspired both fear and awe and was a true masterpiece.
“We owe it to our forefathers, our culture and our tradition to honour them for the masterpiece canoe that was renowned throughout the Pacific as sacred. It was a triumphant vessel and we pay homage to what was widely regarded as the greatest battleship of the Pacific by calling our team the Fijian Drua.”
Also unveiled today was the new team kit, featuring the team logo which is the Drua stylized in a football symbolizing speed, agility and flair which the Fijian rugby players are well known for on the field of play.
The kit features ISC’s innovative technology that will appeal to both competitive players and rugby supporters alike. Commander Kean thanked ISC for their hard work in designing a kit that reflects the history of the Drua.
“As a new team in a relatively new competition, we wanted to have the team playing in a fresh and modern outfit, and we have worked closely with ISC to come up with a design that is both modern and contemporary developed for competition and commitment.”
The 2017 NRC competition will run for 11 weeks with the Fijian Drua kicking off with their season opener on Saturday, 2 September against Brisbane City at Ballymore in Brisbane at 3pm (AST). On 9 September, they play against Melbourne Rising at the Harlequin Oval in Melbourne.Fans of the Fijian Drua will see their heroes in action in Round 3 and 4 in their first home fixture against NSW Country Eagles at Lawaqa Park in Sigatoka on September 16 and then against Perth Spirit on 23 September at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.
Rounds 5 and 6 sees the team travelling back to Australia for their match against the Canberra Vikings on 29 September at Viking Park in Canberra and Greater Sydney Rams on 7 October at TG Millner Oval, Sydney.
Round 7 the team will be on bye, but Rounds 8 and 9 sees them hosting QLD Country at Churchill Park in Lautoka on 21 October and Sydney Rays at the ANZ Stadium in Suva on 28 October.
The Chairman of FRU has urged all the fans to come down and support the Fijian Drua team at any of their match venues either in Australia or Fiji. “I’m sure every Fijian rugby fan will be keen to watch our team in action against some of the Super Rugby Player not only in Australia but here on home ground with tickets as affordable as $10 for adults and $5 for Children U12.”
“I encourage all fans throughout the country to get on board with the Fijian Drua team and show your support by attending all their home games.”
“I would also like to thank World Rugby and the Fiji Sports Commission for their continuous support towards the Fijian Drua team. Without their support and generosity we would not have been able to play in this competition and for that the FRU will be forever grateful and indebted to them.”