Dolokoto man the flanks as Byrne make changes for Moana Pasifika

Mesulame Dolokoto returns to the starting line-up this week, pairing up with skipper Meli Derenalagi to man the flanks, in one of the notable changes Fijian Drua coach Mick Byrne has made for the much-anticipated game against fellow Super Rugby Pacific newbies Moana Pasifika this week.

The line-up also sees the return of Onisi Ratave on the wing alongside Vinaya Habosi, whilst Nemani Nagusa starts off the bench.

“This is what it’s all about! The two teams who have turned the competition from Super Rugby to Super Rugby Pacific go on show against each other and our boys are really excited about the opportunity. No doubt Moana are excited as well,” Byrne said.

In the front row, Haereiti Hetet (1) and Zuriel Togiatama (2) retain their spots at looshead prop and hooker, with veteran Manasa Saulo (3) starting at tighthead prop. Isoa Nasilasila (4) and Viliame Rarasea (5) make up the second row. Derenalagi (6) is at blindside flanker, while Dolokoto (7) starts the match at openside flanker. Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta (8) retains his spot at the back of the scrum.

The halves combination of Frank Lomani (9) and Teti Tela (10) return for this match, as does the powerful midfield combination of Kalaveti Ravouvou (12) at inside centre and Apisalome Vota (13) outside him. Habosi (11) returns to the left wing as Ratave (14) starts the match on the right wing. Kitione Taliga (15) retains his fullback position.

Impact of the bench for the front row will be in the form of Tevita Ikanivere (16), Uluilakepa (17) and Samuela Tawake (18). Chris Minimbi (19) provides cover for the lock, with returning season captain Nemani Nagusa (20) covering for the loose forwards. Peni Matawalu (21), Caleb Muntz (22) and Selestino Ravutaumada (23) make up the backline reserves for the match.

“They (Drua and Moana players) are mates but they get a bit of respect by how they hit each other as mates, so we are in for a pretty bruising and exciting affair.”

The match is scheduled to be played at CommBank Stadium on Saturday.

Round 12 vs Hurricanes

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua Matchday 23

  1. Haereiti Hetet
  2. Zuriel Togiatama
  3. Manasa Saulo
  4. Isoa Nasilasila
  5. Viliame Rarasea
  6. Meli Derenalagi (c)
  7. Mesulame Dolokoto
  8. Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta
  9. Frank Lomani
  10. Teti Tela
  11. Vinaya Habosi
  12. Kalaveti Ravouvou
  13. Apisalome Vota
  14. Onisi Ratave
  15. Kitione Taliga
  1. Tevita Ikanivere
  2. Kaliopasi Uluilakepa
  3. Samuela Tawake
  4. Chris Minimbi
  5. Nemani Nagusa
  6. Peni Matawalu
  7. Caleb Muntz
  8. Selestino Ravutaumada
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