The Fiji Airways Fijian Drua once again mesmerised fans with their exciting Fijian style in 2019, also debuting a number of sensational and top class new players onto the National Rugby Championship scene.
The one point loss in their semi-final against the Canberra Vikings may have been heart breaking on the day, but the gallant effort in reaching the finals was a significant victory for the squad who came together against the odds achieving beyond expectations.
Four break out players who caught the eyes of many in season 2019 where wingers Nacanieli Narekuva, Jiuta Wainiqolo, hooker Tevita Ikanivere and fly-half Caleb Muntz.
Let’s see what impact these players had in the Drua team this season. On top of the list is Jiuta Waniqolo who was at his best form for the Fijian Drua. The 20-year-old Suva winger showed some real pace and scored four tries, contributed 20 points, 34 carries and ran 311 meters.
He proved to be a headache to his opponents when-ever he had the ball in hand, and was as fierce in defence as he was potent in attack. Waniqolo is surely a great future investment for Fiji Rugby.
Nacanieli Narekuva also on the wing, had a blistering season in the blue jersey. The 23-year-old from Tau Village in Sigatoka who plays for Nadroga in the Skipper Cup made his debut for Fijian Drua against Western Force, scoring a brilliant try running some 85 meters. He finished the year with three tries, 44 carries and ran 312 meters.
It was also a great season for Fiji Airways Fijian Drua hooker and Vodafone Fijian Under-20s skipper Tevita Ikanivere. The Ono-i-Lau native showed us with his maturity on field, why he was on the reserve list for the Fiji Airways Flying Fijians squad for Rugby World Cup.
Debuting against Brisbane City, Ikanivere played seven out of eight matches scoring a try in the semi-final against Canberra Vikings, contributing 5 points, 24 carries,133 meters run and 38 successful tackles in a stellar breakout NRC campaign.
The final rising star for the Fijian Drua in 2019 was 20 year old New Zeland based fly-half, Caleb Muntz. Muntz came onto the scene in 2019 for the Swire Shipping Fijian Warriors and Vodafone Fijian Under-20s.
The bright young prospect impressed as impact off the bench for the Fijian Drua with 17 carries, 124 meters run, 10 kicks in play and 23 successful tackles. Muntz is another to keep an eye on for Fiji’s future.
These four young prospects are just a sample of the talent on the rise within Fiji Rugby, and with more time and experience under their belts, could be a real threat come next season for the Drua.