The Fijian Drua have signed on seven more players to their roster for the Super Rugby Pacific 2022 season.
Five forwards and two backs have been named including hookers Mesulame Dolokoto and Zuriel Togiatama, prop Haereiti Hetet, flanker Vilive Miramira, lock Viliame Rarasea, and flyhalves Tuidraki Samusamuvodre and Teti Tela.
Interim Fijian Drua CEO Brian Thorburn also named Flying Fijians and NRC Drua fly-half Alivereti Veitokani in the wider Drua set-up. Veitokani is nursing an injury, but will be assessed and rehabilitated in 2022 by the Drua management in partnership with the FRU. He is earmarked for a return to top-level rugby with the Fijian Drua for the 2023 Super Rugby season, which puts him in the frame for selectors’ consideration for the 2023 Rugby World Cup.
The new signings bring to 34 the number of players that make up the Fijian Drua squad for the Super Rugby commitment. Drua management is looking to name up to six more players, which will be announced as players sign on.
The Fijian Drua intend to assemble in Australia early November.
Thorburn gave further details on the new Fijian Drua players announced today.
“Leading Wave Six as Drua No. 28 is the familiar name of hooker Mesulame Dolokoto. Mesu is one of Fiji’s best hookers, and has consistently featured on most Flying Fijians’ international tours and test matches held in Fiji since his debut. Like most of our squad, he comes through the local Fijian Warriors and NRC Drua pathways. He also brings strong international professional experience as well, given his time with the Glasgow Warriors in Europe and Tasman Makos in New Zealand’s NPC.”
“Drua No. 29 is the very exciting young Fijian flyhalf and fullback Tuidraki Samusamuvodre. He is a star of our game locally, turning up consistently on the Skipper Cup scene following his leading roles with the Fijian U20 and the Fijian Warriors, which include stints as captain. He has recently been playing for the New England Freejacks in the US Major League Rugby, and offers the coaching staff some excellent options in the backline.”
“Drua No. 30, Teti Tela, is another major boost to our backline stocks as a flyhalf or inside centre. Teti has been part of the wider Flying Fijians set-up for a couple of years, and starred in that famous non-test victory for Fiji over the Barbarians in 2019. He also brings Super Rugby experience to the Fijian Drua, given his stint with the Queensland Reds. He has been a part of the NRC rugby circles in Queensland, and his presence will be hugely beneficial to the many young backs we have in our squad.”
“Drua No. 31 is a young local bolter, loose forward Vilive Miramira. His inclusion will surely delight local rugby fans who have followed his progress in domestic age group and senior level competition with Nadi. He has been a standout on the local scene and now has the chance to impress the coaching staff and fight for a place among a big group of loose forwards in our squad. Vilive is a pure domestic product whose hard work and consistency rewards him with a professional Super Rugby contract. We know that it will serve as inspiration for all players in our domestic competitions to keep turning up and grab the attention of selectors for higher honours. This, of course, is one of the key objectives for the Fijian Drua.”
“Drua. No. 32 is young Counties Manukau hooker Zuriel Togiatama. Zuriel comes through the Ardmore Marist Rugby Club in New Zealand and the Counties Manukau Steelers, and has been part of the Chiefs Development Squad. He has solid credentials, and his inclusion creates strong, healthy competition among the hookers in our squad. He is raring to go at Super Rugby level and we look forward to him joining our squad.”
“Drua No. 33, Viliame Rarasea, is another Counties Manukau star who now joins his fellow Fijians in Super Rugby. Viliame came through the Fijian U20s and has featured consistently in New Zealand’s NPC over a number of years. He is another a ball-carrying lock, adding depth to our squad and looking to fight for a place among a solid group of locks.”
“Drua No. 34 is none other than prop Haereiti Hetet. As one of Fiji Rugby’s brightest stars, Hetet brings a yet more valuable international and NPC experience to the Fijian Drua squad and our front row. In addition to NPC experience through Waikato and Bay of Plenty, Hetet has also represented the New Zealand Maori side. As a Flying Fijian, he made a winning debut in the 2020 test in the Autumn Nations Cup against Georgia. His inclusion continues a proud family legacy with Fijian Rugby. Fans will remember his father Joeli Veitayaki as a prominent Flying Fijians prop.”
Photo: Fiji Rugby