The positive news continues, as the Fijian Drua home crowd was recorded as the biggest yet after Super Rugby Pacific Round 11.
Beyond the result in Suva last Saturday, the literal ‘winner on the day’ were actually the 15,102 people attending that historic match between the Fijian Drua and the Highlanders last weekend. What they witnessed was both historic, and monumental.
The comment was passed “how good would this have been if it occurred 20-odd years ago”. Now in retrospect, it appears to have been a ball dropped poorly by the quickly compiled Super 10 organization. Though imagining what is not the positive message wanted by the spectators and, from the ‘Drua players and management. They are so truly proud of the one fact nobody can deny – the game reinforced the side’s place in Super Rugby Pacific.
And that is why the news just keeps getting better; with Super Rugby announcing the change of venue for the Round 16 fixture versus the Chiefs. It will now be a true Fijian Drua home crowd, as a proposed match on the gold Coast has been smartly shifted to Churchill Park in Lautoka.
🙌🏾 @Fijian_Drua are heading BACK to Fiji! 🇫🇯
READ ➡️ https://t.co/ey9orbh3CR pic.twitter.com/wgNZjs3Urv
— Super Rugby Pacific (@SuperRugby) May 3, 2022
Fijian Drua home crowd biggest yet after Super Rugby Pacific Round 11
In their first match in Fiji, the team performed exceptionally. Beating out an early lead, each of the opening tries was fully welcomed by the Fijian Drua home crowd. The cheers and applause were echoed all around the Pacific. Even wider too. The 15000 on hand were watched by tens of thousands across New Zealand, Australia, North America, and in Europe. Imagine Pacifica men and women who play XVs or 7s all engaged in supporting and watching the ‘Drua men.
This is all on top of their women’s team’s tremendous win in the 2022 Super W women’s domestic competition in Australia. A 32-26 victory over the NSW Waratahs came on the back of an unbeaten debut season – unheralded success, and something that all 15000 and more would have only just recovered from.
Their combined success and the overwhelming encouragement to perform has already seen the ‘Drua taste victory over the Melbourne Rebels (31-26 on March 4). Such early success after only three weeks of play should be seen as a glorious reinforcement of their introduction. Not under expansion or television ratings, but on merit. And meritorious was how the side conducted themselves against the Highlanders.
What was also a positive element, was the manner in which both the game was played, and how it was supported. From the opening whistle, every action was cheered. Including the opposition. Cordial at the least, the flying ‘Landers flags were evident, and every positive play from the visitors was cheered to a similar degree as their own sides was.
Well not ‘exactly’. Nobody can deny the Fijian Drua home crowd wanted one team to win yet, when the whistle blew on the narrow 24-27 loss, they were still ready to fist pump, raise their voices and celebrate. Because after 20 years, and after a handful of well attended New Zealand derby games taken to Suva in the past, the result Saturday and the championship win for the Drua women have all placed a massive underscore on the investment SANZAAR and World Rugby put into Pacifica rugby.
“Main photo credit”