Fijian Drua coach Byrne retains star mid-field combination in round 6 match against Rebels


Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne has retained his star mid-field combination of Kalaveti Ravouvou and Apisalome Vota for a sixth consecutive start in the Super Rugby Pacific round 6 match against the Melbourne Rebels at AAMI Stadium on Friday.

Jone Koroiduadua starts at loosehead prop with Kaliopasi Uluilakepa switching to tighthead prop for this match, while it’s a first appearance in the starting 15 for Zuriel Togiatama at hooker.

Last week’s second row combination of Sorovakatini Tuifagalele and Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta has been retained, as has the backrow featuring last week’s Man of the Match Joseva Tamani at blindside flanker, Vilive Miramira at openside flanker and captain Nemani Nagusa at number 8 loose forward.

Frank Lomani starts again at scrumhalf, partnering Teti Tela who is at fly half and on 35 points for this season.

Vinaya Habosi and Selestino Ravutaumada start on the left and right wings respectively, while it’s a return to the starting 15 for fullback Kitione Ratu.

The replacements see a return to the matchday 23 for hooker Tevita Ikanivere and a first potential appearance in Super Rugby Pacific from the bench for loosehead prop Haereiti Hetet .

Samuela Tawake completes the reserve front row this week. Isoa Nasilasila also makes a return to the matchday 23 this week. Kitione Salawa and Peni Matawalu retain their positions among the replacements, with Caleb Muntz making a return to the squad alongside Jona Mataiciwa.

DRUA (1-15): Jone Koroiduadu, Mesulame Dolokoto, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa, Sorovakatini Tuifagalele, Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, Joseva Tamani, Vilive Miramira, Nemani Nagusa (c), Frank Lomani, Teti Tela, Vinaya Habosi, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Apisalome Vota, Selesitino Ravutaumada, Kitione Ratu

RESERVES: Tevita Ikanivere, Haereiti Hetet, Samuela Tawake, Viliame Rarasea, Kitione Salawa, Peni Matawali, Caleb Muntz, Jona Mataiciwa.