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‘Pacific Island Derby To Be A Spectacle’

“The best way we can guarantee ourselves is to have two wins. That’s the simplest answer. Is it that simple? No, it’s not. We’re playing Moana this week,” Byrne said. 

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua openside flanker Vilive Miramira blocks a kick from a Waratahs player during their round 14 Shopn N Save Super Rugby Pacific match at Allianz Stadium, Sydney, Australia on May 20, 2023. Photo: Leon Lord

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne delivered it simple yesterday; get two bonus point wins in the last two home games.

Byrne said this during the weekly Drua press conference at their Legalega base in Nadi yesterday.

The Meli Derenalagi-captained side will take on the Moana Pasifika in round 14 of the Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific clash at Churchill Park in Lautoka on Saturday.

This will be followed by their clash against Queesland Reds at the HFC Bank Stadium for round 15 on June 3.

Byrne said the equation is not so easy.

“The best way we can guarantee ourselves is to have two wins. That’s the simplest answer. Is it that simple? No, it’s not. We’re playing Moana this week,” Byrne said.

“Get our game in order. Understand what Moana is bringing, which is a big physical team and they come hard at you. And they’ve done that in the teams against the Blues and against the Hurricanes.

“You know, they made lots of gain lines close around the ruck. So we know we’re in for the physical game. Our boys enjoy that as well. So that’s what we’re focusing on at the moment.

“It’s a Pacific Island derby, and it’s on the islands. So it’ll also be good for them because they’ve been playing in mainland New Zealand all year. They’ll be enjoying coming to the islands as well.

“So it’s a great challenge. It’s a great spectacle, and I’m sure that the fans will see Pacific Island rugby at its best on Saturday.”

In the recent two games on the road, it has been very disappointing for the team, Byrne admitted, and wish to turn it around starting with Moana Pasifika.

“It was more of an effort that we were disappointed with. I’m not making excuses. It was a big, tough week, big travel day, short turnaround, all those sorts of things,” he said.

“We have to learn to adapt, and we will get better and we’ll adapt to those types of things. But then we had a really good week in Sydney. So our energy and effort were up and our performance was better.

“So when we look at the game, disappointed with the result in Perth and disappointed with the result against the Waratahs, but we got a better reply and a good response from the players, which sets up momentum going into this week for our last two home games.

“So our performance was good. The Waratahs defended, I think it was 250 tackles. They made every scramble tackle. We made little mini half-line breaks which in our past games, we’ve been able to get through where attackers were great. They scrambled as well as anything we played so they deserve the victory. But we performed.”

The Drua- Moana Pasifika match kicks off at 2.05pm.

Story by: Waisea Nasokia – [email protected]