The Fijian Drua is a professional rugby union team that competes in the Super Rugby competition. They are the only team in Super Rugby to represent the island nation of Fiji. The Fijian Drua are one of the competition’s newest sides, joining Super Rugby along with Moana Pasifika in 2022. While their history in Super Rugby is undoubtedly very short, the Fijian Drua represent Fiji’s long-held passion for rugby.
Fijians have played rugby for over 108 years, with Fijian players and fans dreaming to join the Super Rugby competition since its formation over two decades ago. That dream was realised in 2022, but the history of the Fijian Drua goes back a little further than that.
In 2017, the Fiji Rugby Union entered its own team into Australia’s National Rugby Championship. This team would soon be named the Fijian Drua. In their first season competing in the NRC, the Drua had a strong showing, finishing in 3rd place.
The Drua really got going in their second NRC season, winning all but one match during the regular season. This loss came against Queensland County, who the Drua subsequently got their revenge on in the final, defeating them by a score of 36-26 to claim the 2018 NRC title.
The 2019 season saw the Drua make the playoffs once more, but they came up short, losing to the Canberra Vikings.
The Fijian Drua didn’t play in 2020, as the NRC’s season was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Previously, the Super Rugby competition featured four South African teams, one Argentine team, and one Japanese team, but all of these licenses expired after the 2020 season. After two pandemic altered seasons in 2020 and 2021, Super Rugby announced that two new teams would join the competition: the Fijian Drua and Moana Pasifika. With the addition of these two new teams, the competition officially rebranded itself as Super Rugby Pacific.
The addition of these teams, one from Fiji and another representing the pacific islands, marked a step forward for the competition. Both the Drua and Moana Pasifika were confirmed for the 2022 and 2023 Super Rugby seasons.
The Fijian Drua’s first Super Rugby season was also affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, as the side was forced to play the majority of its 2022 home matches in Australia instead of Fiji. The Drua saw little success during its Super Rugby debut, winning only two matches and finishing 11th in the final standings, failing to qualify for the playoffs.
However, their 2023 season has been a different story. Now playing their home games in Fiji, the Drua have pulled off dramatic and memorable wins against the Hurricanes and the Crusaders. At the time of writing, they find themselves in 8th place with a playoff spot. There are still a handful of matches left, so the Drua’s 2023 fate is yet to be decided.
The Fijian Drua split their home games in two different stadiums in Fiji: Churchill Park and HFC Bank Stadium. Where they play each home game depends on a variety of factors including the opponent, and whether that opponent is from Australia or New Zealand.
Churchill Park is located in Lautoka, Fiji, and is predominantly used as the home of the Lautoka Football Club. It is a modest and intimate venue, with a seating capacity of around 11,000.
HFC Bank Stadium is located in Suva, Fiji, and is mainly used for rugby matches. The stadium boasts a slightly larger seating capacity that Churchill Park, allowing up to 15,000 fans.
The Fijian Drua is named after the drua, which is a Fijian double canoe that traditionally served as a warship in naval battles. Their logo features a stylized blue drua. According to the team’s official website, the drua “ruled the South Seas” and “is befitting as a name and an identity for a franchise featuring players who are warriors on the rugby field, playing fast, powerful, and fearless rugby”.
The Fijian Drua’s colours are blue, green, and white. Their home kit is blue with green and teal accents, while their away kit is white with green and teal accents.
While the team competed in the NRC, they were sponsored by Fiji Airways. Now, their primary sponsor is the Hong Kong and London-based Swire Shipping, with Fiji Airways serving as a secondary sponsor.
The Fijian Drua team is currently coached by Mick Byrne, with Meli Derenalagi serving as team captain. Here is the Fijian Drua’s complete roster for the 2023 Super Rugby season:
The Fijian Drua, despite being a young team, are a fitting representation of Fiji’s passion for rugby. By providing an exciting new Fijian flair, the Drua are a welcome addition to Super Rugby, and are poised to be a strong fixture in the competition.