-The Fijian Drua have managed the horrific conditions to take a 31-13 victory over the Western Force in Laukota.

There were puddles aplenty as it poured down with rain for the majority of the game.

The hosts thrived in the wet, taking an 18-5 lead before a red card to Tevita Ikanivere presented a chance for the Force to strike.

They hit back before the break, however, this is where the comeback halted as young flyhalf Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula steered the Drua home.

He set up Iosefo Masi before a trio of penalties sealed the victory.

The visitors scored the opening try in the second minute through hooker Tom Horton courtesy of a 15-metre rolling maul.

But Fiji scored the next 18 points to wrestle control of the contest.

Despite the slippery conditions, Drua played their usual running rugby, and it often paid big dividends.

Winger Epeli Momo just made it in for a try with a diving effort in the corner after 12 minutes, and it was Fijian rugby at its best when they crossed again five minutes later.

Instead of kicking for touch after being awarded a penalty, Drua halfback Frank Lomani caught the Force defence napping with a quick tap and break before dishing the ball off to winger Selestino Ravutaumada.
Iosefo Masi Try from Round 6 of Super Rugby Pacific 2024

Drua No.8 Elia Canakaivata received a yellow card in the 21st minute for a shoulder charge, but despite being down a man the hosts extended their lead with two penalties to race out to a 18-5 advantage.

The Fijians’ hooker Tevita Ikanivere was handed a yellow card on the stroke of halftime, and this time the Force took advantage as winger Chase Tiatia went over in the corner to reduce the margin to 18-10 at the break.

Ikanivere’s yellow card was upgraded to red during the break, reducing Drua to 14 men for the first 18 minutes of the second half.

But once again Drua made a mockery of the numerical disadvantage, with five-eighth Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula dribbling a kick forward and centre Iosefo Masi racing onto it to touch down.

It exemplified not only Drua’s skill, but also their smarts, with Armstrong-Ravula knowing the sodden pitch would slow down his kick enough to keep it in play.

Two penalties to Armstrong-Ravula while his team were still down a man extended Drua’s lead out to 31-13 in the 57th minute.

The Force hunted late for an answer but were stopped at every time by a rock solid Drua defence.

Meanwhile, Fijian Drua Head Coach Mick Byrne has praised scrumhalf Frank Lomani for achieving the milestone of playing 50 Super Rugby matches.

Lomani played his 50th match on Saturday and helped the Drua beat Western Force 31-13 at Churchill Park.

He was instrumental and set up the second try of the match with a quick tap and sent Selesitino Ravutaumada in the clear to score.

The achievement was capped off with the Nukubalavu native from Savusavu also walking away with the Player of the Match award.

“Frank is one the key players in the side. His work rate is high and shows a lot of maturity. He is an awesome leader on and off the field,” said Byrne.

“He guides the younger players and you see his abilities in the way he plays at every game.” “

Byrne said to have him run out onto the field with his child was truly special for the whole team and they are really proud of Lomani.

“He has much more to offer to the team and we are happy to have a player of such caliber in the Drua set up.”.