Both the Fijian Drua and the Highlanders search for their second win of the season in crunch Super Rugby Pacific clash


The Super Rugby debutants who are the club side representing Fijian Rugby Union have struggled to gain traction in their opening campaign, but can ignite their season if they beat a competitive Highlanders side. 

Following a thrilling 31-26 victory over the Melbourne Rebels back in March, the Drua went on to give both the Queensland Reds and the Western Force extremely tough games, only losing out by a margin of five and two points respectively. 

Since then, however, Mick Byrne’s side have gradually been outclassed, with the Rebels avenging their loss and the Drua comprehensively losing to the New South Wales Waratahs, ACT Brumbies and the Blues. 

Meanwhile, the Highlanders, coached by Tony Brown, have been competitive in nearly all of their Super Rugby encounters, but have ultimately fallen short on all but one occasion. A comfortable victory over another new side in Moana Pasifika was as good as it got for the Dunedin side, who have lost by one score or less on four occasions and by more than two scores only once. 

Although, with the top seven comfortably clear, the 8th and final play-off spot is still up for grabs for teams in the league with two wins or less; these include the Force, Rebels, Highlanders, Drua and Moana Pasifika. 

With the Rebels taking on lowly Moana Pasifika, both the Drua and the Highlanders will recognise the importance of this game if they are to sneak into the play-offs. 

Winger Onisi Ratave has scored in his last two games for the Drua, taking him to four for the season. The 29-year-old’s pace and power could prove pivotal in this contest. 

The Highlanders have conceded the first try in five of their eight losses this season and will be aware of how important it will be to stem the momentum of a highly motivated Fijian Drua side early on. 

This match will be the first official meeting of the two sides, and a defeat for either team would surely end any lingering play-off hopes. Should the Drua emerge victorious they will likely only replace the Highlanders in 10th but will see themselves stay in striking distance of the Melbourne Rebels and the Western Force.

Meanwhile a win for the Highlanders paired with favourable results elsewhere could see the Kiwi side breach the top eight for the first time this season. 

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