1 Sep 2018

Sport: Fijian Drua set sights higher

8:33 am on 1 September 2018

The Fijian Drua expect to be title contenders in their second season of the Australian National Rugby Championship.

Drua coach, Senirusi Seruvakula

Drua coach, Senirusi Seruvakula Photo: Fiji Rugby

The Drua finished third in their inaugural campaign and kick off their sophomore season with a home clash against the Melbourne Rising in Nausori this afternoon.

Coach Senirusi Seruvakula has 11 Fiji internationals at his disposal and said, after bowing out in the semi finals last year, they were feeling confident because they knew the level required to compete with the best.

"The goal this year is to lift up our standard from last year and try our best to be in the final but we need to work on our process every week, treat every game as important and these two games here in Fiji are very important to us," he said.

"But it's going to be tough competition now that every team in last year understand how we play and our weaknesses and we just need to step up to another level."

The Drua favoured a free-flowing, expansive style of rugby during their debut season.

But Seruvakula said, with their opponents now well-versed on what to expect, they had been working on alternative strategies.

"We've changed the way we play and there will be a lot of surprises for some of the new players we will be rising up in some of these games, which haven't been seen in the international stages.

"Some of these players have got a lot of talent, which will be showcasing in the starting of this week's game," he said.

The Fijian Drua squad huddle together during training.

The Fijian Drua squad huddle together during training. Photo: Fiji Rugby

The Drua host a Melbourne Rising team that finished bottom of the NRC competition last season but have bolstered their squad with a number of new signings, including former Wallabies forwards Matt Philip and Richard Hardwick and Fiji-born backrower, Isi Naisarani.

Seven-test Wallabies international Sefa Naivalu will also start on the right wing for the Rising at Ratu Cakobau Park, with Kemu Valetini and Kitione Ratu included on the bench.

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