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Fijian Drua announce historic Suva match against Highlanders

Tue, 18/01/2022, 4:01 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson

The Fijian Drua have announced they will look to play their first game in Fiji against the Highlanders at ANZ Stadium on April 30.

The club originally planned to host their first game in Fiji against the Waratahs in round 7 on April 1, however, a rise in COVID cases in the region saw the government put a ban on spectators.

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“We would have loved to bring a match to Fiji earlier, but totally respect and support the decision of Fijian authorities," CEO Brian Thorburn said in a statement.

"Public health considerations are paramount and the Drua’s thoughts and prayers are with our fellow Fijians as they battle this Omicron wave.

"We now aim to play the Highlanders in Suva on 30 April but will have to change plans again if the ‘no-spectator’ rule remains in place. We’ll need a full stadium to be able to host a financially viable match in Fiji and will be guided by the authorities in these considerations.”

The Drua will likely play the rest of their home games in Greater Sydney and Queensland, with their round 13 clash against fellow newcomers Moana Pasifika locked in for CommBank Stadium (FKA Bankwest Stadium) on 14 May.

“This will undoubtedly be a match for the ages as the Drua and Moana go head to head," Thornburn believes.

"Friendships and kava will flow after the match, but it will be fierce action on the field with high energy and high impact rugby that Pacific Islanders are renowned for. The boys are chomping at the bit for this particular match which will serve a treat for Fijian, Samoan, Tongan and other Pacific fans alike!

"Placing our matches as closely as possible to where Fijian fans live in Western Sydney and South-East Queensland is really important to us. We are carefully considering all opportunities for venues in those areas and will share the final selections with all fans as soon as possible."

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The venue will also host their inaugural match of Super Rugby Pacific as they face the Waratahs on February 18, which was announced by the NSW club on Tuesday morning.

Whilst the game will be a Waratahs home game, Thornburn was confident the Fijian and Rugby community would recognise and support the historic event.

“It will be an honour for the first ever Swire Shipping Fijian Drua matchday 23 players to run out on to the field on 18 February at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta, proudly representing Fiji and Fijians everywhere," he added.

"The 25-year dream and this incredible journey we’ve been waiting for will finally become a reality and it will be a moment to remember for years to come."

“We’re calling on Fijian fans and rugby supporters to come out in numbers, paint CommBank Stadium blue and fill it with the sounds of Fiji. Let’s show the rugby world what it means for Fiji to have its own team in Super Rugby.”

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