|Union||Fiji Rugby Union|
|Ground(s)||ANZ Stadium, Suva (Cap: 15,000)|
Churchill Park, Lautoka (Cap: 18,000)
Lawaqa Park, Sigatoka (Cap: 12,000)
|League(s)||National Rugby Championship|
3rd placed (regular season)
The Fijian Drua is a rugby union team based in Fiji that competes in the Australian National Rugby Championship (NRC). The team was created by the Fiji Rugby Union and launched in August 2017, shortly before the 2017 National Rugby Championship. The team competed in the competition until the end of 2019, when the tournament was disbanded.
National Rugby Championship
In July 2017, the Fiji Rugby Union announced that they would enter a team in the Australian domestic National Rugby Championship from the 2017 season onwards following successful negotiations with the Australian Rugby Union, with home matches being played in Suva as well as regional cities Lautoka and Sigatoka. On 25 July, Senirusi Seruvakula was named as the head coach of the team for their inaugural season, and a few days later the first players were invited to a training camp.
The team's name, logo and kit was revealed on 16 August 2017, with the FRU announcing that the team would be known as the Fijian Drua.
In their first year of competition in NRC 2017, the Drua won three of their first four matches to be well placed at the mid point of the season, but then lost three of their remaining four matches to finish in third place. The team was well beaten by the eventual Champions Queensland Country in their semifinal.
The Drua finished on top of the table after the regular season in the following year, losing only one match away to Queensland Country. In the last round they won the Horan-Little Shield by defeating Perth Spirit away in Perth, before beating Canberra Vikings in their semifinal at home in Lautoka. In the final, played at the same venue a week later, the Drua avenged their previous losses to Queensland Country with a 36–26 win to take the 2018 National Rugby Championship title.
The 2019 season saw the Drua once again make the playoffs, finishing with three wins, two draws and two defeats. However, they were unable to defend their title, losing in the semi-finals to Canberra Vikings. This would be their last match in the tournament as the tournament was disbanded following a change in TV deal at the end of 2020, with the 2020 edition having been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Following the conclusion of the 2020 Super Rugby season, the licences for the South African Super Rugby sides; the Bulls, the Lions, the Sharks and the Stormers, the Argentine Jaguares and the Japanese Sunwolves all expired. The 2021 Super Rugby season, still effected by the COVID-19 pandemic, was played in two regionalised tournaments featuring the five New Zealand Super Rugby sides and the four Australian Super Rugby sides, plus the Western Force who had returned to the tournament having lost their licence at the end of the 2017 Super Rugby season. However, from 2022 onwards a new 12-team tournament had been mooted, and on 13 November 2020, the New Zealand Rugby Union announced the Fijian Drua, along with the Moana Pasifika as its preferred partners to join the competition. Further steps were made in March 2021, when the New Zealand Rugby Union agreed to a sharing of broadcast revenue with both the Drua and Moana Pasifika, and this was followed later in the same month by World Rugby announcing financial, high performance and administrative support for both potential new sides, in order to boost the performances of Pacific Islands at international level, while also being able to stay local instead of heading overseas.
Name and colours
The team is named after the drua, a traditional Fijian double canoe that served as warships in naval battles. The team's logo pictures a drua stylised inside a rugby ball, to symbolise Fijian players' speed, agility and flair. The Fijian Drua colours are sky blue, black and white.
Fiji Airways is the principal sponsor for the Drua, signing a five-year deal in late 2017. ISC is their kit manufacturer. The team is also sponsored by Paradise Beverages, with the Fiji Gold Beer logo and the Ratu Rum brand appearing on the sleeves and back of the jersey.
The squad for the 2019 NRC season:
|Fijian Drua squad – NRC 2019 [A]|
|Bold denotes player is internationally capped. (c) Denotes team captain. 1 denotes marquee player.|
Fly-half Serupepeli Vularika.
Hooker Ratunaisa Navuma.
Winger Ifereimi Tovilevu.
Prop Joeli Veitayaki Jnr.
- National Rugby Championship
- Horan-Little Shield
- Season winners: 2018
National Rugby Championship
Year Pos Pld W D L F A +/- BP Pts Play-offs 2019 3rd 7 3 2 2 231 214 +17 3 17 Semi-final loss to Canberra Vikings by 28–27 2018 1st 7 6 0 1 283 175 +108 3 27 Grand final win over Queensland Country by 36-26 2017 3rd 8 4 0 4 261 245 +16 6 22 Semi-final loss to Queensland Country by 57–21
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