Flying Fijians prop Manasa Saulo who boasts 47 caps for Fiji is one of five latest additions to the Fijian Drua roster for the Super Rugby Pacific 2022.
He is joined by current Flying Fijians tighthead Samuela Tawake, Fiji 7s’ Kitione Salawa Junior, Suva lock Sorovakatini Tuifagalele, and Melbourne Rising and NSW Waratahs squad member Joseva Tamani.
Fijian Drua Interim CEO Brian Thorburn said the five new players add depth to the forwards, crucial for any team competing in the Super Rugby competition.
“We are delighted to announce five players who will be eager to impress the coaching staff during the pre-season which starts in November. The five players today demonstrated yet again Fiji Rugby’s solid player development pathways; they’ve worked their way through the ranks and are ready to show their wares for our Club,” Thorburn said.
Saulo is the most capped player in the side. As Drua No. 23, Thorburn says he brings a vast wealth of knowledge and experience to what will be a very young squad. He has been to two Rugby World Cups and fans will remember him as part of a scrum that surprised the Wallabies in 2015.
“Manasa is a real product of the Fijian rugby system, having been a part of the national age-group teams, Sukuna Bowl and provincial rugby. He is also an international journeyman, playing the top-level competitions of France with Toulon and the UK with London Irish. His experience will be invaluable.”
Drua No. 24, Samuela Tawake, is regarded of Fiji’s rising stars who has already earned a Flying Fijians cap.
“He also came through our U20s programme, has played for Canterbury and Manawatu in New Zealand’s NPC, and is well known for both his scrummaging and mobility around the park. We know he will fight hard for a place in our matchday squads.”
Drua No. 25, Kitione Salawa Junior, is a find from the domestic competition and 7s programme.
“At just 20, he was a strong contender for a place in that final squad to the Tokyo Olympics. He is young, fit, and is absolutely eager to go. In a squad of talented backrowers, I expect that he will make the coaching staff take notice.”
Drua No. 26, Sorovakatini Tuifagalele is Suva’s Skipper cup-winning lock.
“He brings his strong domestic rugby and Fijian Latui experience, along with his try scoring prowess to our squad. He has been consistent in his local performances and now has the opportunity to make a name for himself in Super Rugby. It is always a proud moment for all of us at the Fijian Drua and Fiji Rugby when a homegrown talent like him is rewarded with a professional contract.”
Drua No. 27 is talented flanker Joseva Tamani, who is also a lock option.
“After making waves for Ovalau domestically, he has been with the Melbourne Rising in Australia’s NRC competition. He has also been part of the wider NSW Waratahs squad as an injury cover in 2021 Super Rugby, so has already been exposed to this environment. Joseva is another one of those forwards who can run like backs that Fiji is blessed with, and we’re excited about what he brings to the Fijian Drua.”
The Club expects to make another wave of player announcements in the coming days.
Photo: Fiji Rugby