The Fijian Drua has ruled out hosting the Waratahs in Fiji for their round 7 match in April, and are now aiming for the round 11 game against the Highlanders later the same month.
The Swire Shipping sponsored Fijian Super Rugby Pacific franchise said the Waratahs match will be moved back to Australia attributing it to Fiji’s ‘no-spectator’ rule which will also determine whether or not the Highlanders match on April 30 at the ANZ Stadium goes ahead as scheduled.
Fijian Drua CEO Brian Thorburn said they would need a full stadium to be able to host a financially viable match in Fiji.
“We would have loved to bring a match to Fiji earlier, but totally respect and support the decision of Fijian authorities. 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,” Thorburn said.
The no-spectator rule was instituted last week by authorities due to the Omicron situation in Fiji.
In the meantime, the Drua is calling on fans to support them when they make their Super Rugby debut against the Waratahs at CommBank Stadium in Parramatta, Western Sydney on Friday 18 February 2022.
“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. 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.”
Tickets for the 18 February match will be available on ticketek.com.au in early February. Fans who sign up on the Drua’s official website — drua.rugby — to receive Club updates will receive an alert as soon as tickets are available for sale.
At the same stadium, but three months on, the Drua will go head-to-head against fellow debutants Moana Pasifika in a round 13 encounter. The match is scheduled for 14 May.
“This will undoubtedly be a match for the ages as the Drua and Moana go head to head. 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!”
Thorburn adds that several venues and cities in Australia have shown interest in having the Drua over for their remaining home matches.
“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.”
“For now, we request our local area supporters to come out in numbers to catch their Drua live in action wherever we play. Our amazing fans and the Fijian people remain at the heart of everything we do. It’s their support in the stadium as well as prayers and well wishes from home that our team will ride on every single time we take the field.”
The Swire Shipping Fijian’s Drua’s updated schedule is as follows, with venues for matches in Rounds 1, 2, 4, 6, 10, 12, 13 and 14 confirmed.