Four rookies called up for Fijian Drua matchday-23

Four rookies called up for Fijian Drua matchday-23

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua has today announced its matchday squad for the highly anticipated Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific season opener against the Blues this Saturday in Whangarei.

Head Coach Mick Byrne has handed young rookies Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula, Epeli Momo and Isikeli Rabitu starting debuts, while development lock forward Mesake Vocevoce has also forced his way into the matchday 23 after being upgraded to the main Super Rugby Pacific squad this week.

Byrne has assembled a strong front row with Livai Natave getting the nod at loosehead prop, Tevita Ikanivere as hooker and Mesake Doge at tighthead. Flying Fijians lock Isoa Nasilasila will partner with Leone Rotuisolia in the second row, with Etonia Waqa at blindside flank and Elia Canakaivata on the openside. Captain Meli Derenalagi will be the number 8 loose forward. 

The experienced Frank Lomani starts the match at halfback to partner Armstrong-Ravula at flyhalf. Flyer Selestino Ravutaumada features on the left wing to pair with another Super Rugby Pacific debutant - Epeli Momo - on the right. Barnstorming centre Apisalome Vota gets a start in the season opener shifting one in to inside centre with Drua’s leading try scorer Iosefo Masi outside him. Young Isikeli Rabitu completes the run-on team by getting a start at fullback. 

Providing cover on the bench at hooker is Mesulame Dolokoto, while Emosi Tuqiri and Jone Koroiduadua are expected to make an impact in the front row during the match. Mesake Vocevoce is the back-up lock and expected to make his debut during the match. Vilive Miramira is the back-up loose forward. Peni Matawalu is the reserve halfback, with Kemu Valetini and Tuidraki Samusamuvodre providing additional backline cover.

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