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Super Rugby: Drua notches a win and Moana Pasifika plays first game

Monday 7 March 2022 | Written by RNZ | Published in Pacific Islands, Regional


Super Rugby: Drua notches a win and Moana Pasifika plays first game

The Fijian Drua have made history, defeating the Melbourne Rebels 31-26 in Queensland for their first-ever Super Rugby win.

The tournament newcomers went into Friday night's match as underdogs following heavy defeats to the Waratahs and Brumbies in the opening two rounds.

Following the game, the Drua head coach Mick Byrne said he was pleased the team stuck with their plan.

"I said it last week, and we have been training well, we have been training our game well, and I think just getting use to the fact that the physical nature of Super Rugby and as I've said, I'm pretty much repeating myself again, I'm proud about the boys went about their task," Byrne said

"We've got two players who have Super Rugby experience, so we just have to keep building each week and getting use to turning up the next Monday and going again for the next week."

Byrne said the team have been working extremely hard since the first day of training, and tonight, they got their just desserts.

Fijian Drua fought back from 14-nil down to take a lead they never relinquished, and notch a historic, first-ever Super Rugby victory.

Meli Derenalagi and Drua head coach Mick Byrne speak to media following their historic Super Rugby win
Meli Derenalagi and Drua head coach Mick Byrne speak to media following their historic Super Rugby win Photo: Fijian Drua

Meli Derenalagi was captain on the night. He said the message to the boys before the game was just to go outside and enjoy it.

"Even though we went down for first the two games but we need to stand out and try to be competitive for this Super Rugby."

Onisi Ratave, Vilive Miramira and Apisalome Vota all dotted down for Mick Byrne's heroic team.

The Drua will next meet the Reds.

Moana Pasifika side would have made their families proud says Kepu

Moana Pasifika lost their debut Super Rugby match but they showed a lot of positive signs in Friday night's 33-12 defeat to the Crusaders in Dunedin.

Sekope Kepu will lead Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby Pacific.
Sekope Kepu will lead Moana Pasifika in Super Rugby Pacific. Photo: Photosport

Moana Pasifika had their first two matches postponed after a Covid outbreak within the squad.

The Moana Pasifika captain Sekope Kepu said his side played with passion and would have made their families proud in their Super Rugby debut.

"I was very proud of the lads, the way they fronted up. The Crusaders are a team that can punish you but I thought we kept coming back and keep showing up for each other and spoke about it all week, being courageous as a group, and doing it for our families and our people and I thought we showed that."

Moana Pasifika coach Aaron Mauger said he felt the Moana Pasifika forwards did outstanding work.

Aaron Mauger was an assistant coach for Moana Pasifika's match against the Māori All Blacks.
Moana Pasifika coach Aaron Mauger Photo: PHOTOSPORT

"Credit is has got to go to Filo and Puleasi for the work they have done with the guys and for the guys out there who are just fronting up and executing their roles, it was really impressive.

"When we got the ball, making sure we were really clinical with it. I think they had 28 percent for most of that first half, so it was actually hard to build pressure with our attack, we had some plans to do that but like you say...we spent most of the time defending.

"It's certainly an area we want to focus on, it's clearly the Crusader's plan to try and gas us, they knew we had been locked up for 12 days, we've only had three intensity trainings since we come out and just try and manage our work loads and on the back of that, it was a pretty outstanding performance, and Sekope used that word courageous before, I thought it was really courageous."