Editorial comment – Boosting the Drua

Fijian Drua's Livai Natave bulldozing his way through Melbourne Rebels defense during the trial match at Prince Charles Park in Nadi. Picture: REINAL CHAND

It was hot in the Western Division yesterday. The sun turned out in all its glory in the early part of the day. Then the skies opened up in the afternoon. That’s when the Fijian Drua took on the might of the Melbourne Rebels at Prince Charles Park in Nadi.

It was a trial match for the teams, however, it has set the stage for big things when the Super Rugby Pacific competition kicks off. Yesterday was about trying out players.

It was about working out combinations, getting players to find their rhythm under pressure and in a real game situation.

It was encouraging to see the Drua come out with flying colours, defeating the Melbourne Rebels 24-0 on slippery underfoot conditions and in front of a vocal crowd.

However, questions will need to be raised about how prepared is Nadi for future matches of such calibre?

Is Nadi ready? Yesterday, the one-way street formation certainly wasn’t working well for visitors to the Jetset Town.

It was frustrating having to drive around the one-way streets to get to the park.

The fathers of the town will do well to consider this when hosting top internationals there, especially how they deal with traffic congestion.

Then they would have to factor in the need for parking space when thousands of fans drive across to the park to watch their favourite teams play.

Then if that’s not enough, the powers that be will need to factor in sitting arrangements at the park, and how they demarcate areas.

Then there will need to be consideration for sitting sections for teams, match officials, and perhaps an upgrade of changerooms.

By the time security and the police tried to get fans to move out of designated areas yesterday, it was too late. On the park, it was good to see some good moves by the Drua.

It was encouraging to see combinations working, and alternatives for the Drua.

In the end, finding their rhythm, good ball retention, on top of enthusiasm in general play, and touches of the Fijian flair stood out for the Drua.

It launched its 2023 campaign on a positive note That’s what fans want.

It sets the stage for an exciting new season by the Drua. Last season was important. It was encouraging coming off the season the way we did last year.

The challenge now on the Drua is to take their campaign to another level.

And the challenge for the powers that be in Nadi is to consider factors that will assist in empowering sports bodies in Nadi, and the town’s ability to attract international matches in the future.

That is going to be good for everyone, from the sports bodies, the town’s administrators to the fans, and the businesses who will stand to benefit from renewed interest in Nadi as a sporting venue.

We say go Fijian Drua!

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