Drua, Highlanders name teams for Suva Super Rugby clash

Drua head coach Mick Byrne and his Highlanders counterpart Tony Brown have named their lineups for their round 11 Super Rugby Pacific clash which doubles as the Fijian franchise’s first home game at home since joining the Super Rugby set-up this year.

The match on Saturday afternoon is also the first time the two sides are meeting in a game that is an important one for both sides that have only one win each.

Byrne knows full well that this being their home game at home, it is crucial that they do their best, something the Highlanders are anticipating, and as such coach, Brown is expecting a tough encounter and has told his players to play the full eighty-minute game.

“It’s so exciting for us to be playing our first ever match on home soil. We’re looking forward to playing in front of our fans,” Byrne said. “The boys understand the importance of a good performance in front of their home crowd. It’s also our second hit-out against a New Zealand team so we expect it to be a fast and physical clash. We’ve geared up for that and we’re really looking forward to putting a performance out on the park that our fans will be proud of.”

Highlander’s Head Coach, Brown, said, “There are so many unique aspects to this game for both teams. We are expecting a very determined Fijian Drua team to turn up on Saturday, they will have plenty of home support from passionate fans that will be seeing their team at home for the very first time.”

For the Drua, Haereiti Hetet (1) links up with Flying Fijians Mesulame Dolokoto (2) and Manasa Saulo (3) in the front row, while Viliame Rarasea (4) and Ratu Rotuisolia (5) man the lock positions. In the backrow, captain Meli Derenalagi (6) leads a dynamic trio with Vilive Miramira (7) and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta (8) as the number 8 loose forward.

The halves pairing sees Frank Lomani (9) at halfback and Teti Tela (10) at flyhalf. The powerful centre combination of Kalaveti Ravouvou (12) and Apisalome Vota (13) reunite for this match. Vinaya Habosi (11) and Selestino Ravutaumada (14) are on the wings, while Kitione Taliga (15) is at fullback.

Providing impact off the bench this week are Tevita Ikanivere (16), Meli Tuni (17) and Samuela Tawake (18). Isoa Nasilasila (19) and Joseva Tamani (20) round out the substitute forward pack. The backline impact players off the bench are Simione Kuruvoli (21), Onisi Ratave (22) and Kitione Ratu (23).

The Highlanders camp has been boosted with the return of Aaron Smith who will captain the side after being unavailable for selection in round 10.

Fijian DruaHighlanders
1Haereiti HetetDaniel Lienert-Brown
2Mesulame DolokotoAndrew Makalio
3Manasa SauloJermaine Ainsley
4Viliame RaraseaBryn Evans
5Ratu RotuisoliaSam Caird
6Meli Derenalagi (c)Christian Lio-Willie
7Vilive MiramiraBilly Harmon
8Te Ahiwaru CirikidavetaMarino Mikaele-Tu’u
9Frank LomaniAaron Smith
10Teti TelaMitch Hunt
11Vinaya HabosiScott Gregory
12Kalaveti RavouvouFetuli Paea
13Apisalome VotaThomas Umaga Jensen
14Selesitino RavutaumadaSam Gilbert
15Kitione TaligaConnor Garden Bachop
16Tevita IkanivereRhys Marshall
17Meli TuniEthan de Groot
18Samuela TawakeJosh Hohneck
19Isoa NasilasilaMax Hicks
20Joseva TamaniJames Lentjes
21Simione KuruvoliFolau Fakatava
22Onisi RataveMarty Banks
23Kitione RatuHugh Renton
Fijian Drua vs Highlanders Line-Up

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