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Back to earth? Drua's run of Super Rugby success ends with big loss to Blues in 2024 season opener

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24th February, 2024
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Fiji rugby’s long season of success has come to a sudden end when the Fijian Drua were beaten 34-10 by the Blues in the first round of Super Rugby Pacific.

Fans of Fiji have had much to celebrate over the past nine months as the Drua reached the Super Rugby quarter-finals for the first time last year and the Fiji national team went on to reach the quarters of the World Cup, beating Australia on the way.

Watch every match of Super Rugby Pacific ad-free, live & on demand on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport

There was hope that that success would carry over into a new season for the Drua. But the Blues put an end to those hopes when they ran in five tries to lead 29-3 by halftime on Saturday at Whangarei north of Auckland.

Winger Caleb Clarke scored under the posts as first receiver from one scrum and fullback Zarn Sullivan scored in the left corner from another. The Blues always were dangerous in the outside channels and captain Dalton Papali’i scored in the right corner when the Drua cover defence was fully stretched.

The Drua were unlucky to concede another try close to the main break when they muffed the clearance of an Angus Ta’avao charge down and back-rower Hoskins Sotutu scored his second try of the half. He also scored the Blues first try at a breakdown on the Drua line.

The Drua’s only points of the first half came from a penalty to flyhalf Isaiah Armstrong-Ravula who also received a yellow card in his Super Rugby debut.

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Blues halfback Finlay Christie also was yellow carded at the start of the second half, in the play that led up to the Drua’s first try. The visitors tapped a penalty close to the Blues line and scored on the next phase through lock Leone Rotuisolia.

Almost 20 minutes passed before Sullivan’s second try increased the Blues’ lead to 34-10.

“At the end of the day, we know the Drua are going to bring it all,” Blues captain . They play such a good style of football that you’ve got to be on all the time.”

© AAP

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