Fijian Drua create Super Rugby Pacific history on the Sunshine Coast
Super Rugby Pacific history was made on the Sunshine Coast on Friday night when the Swire Shipping Fijian Drua scored their first ever tournament win with a never-say-die 31-26 victory over the Melbourne Rebels.
In doing so they notched the highest score in their short history and discovered a self-belief missing from their first two matches, coming from 14-7 down at half time to score a famous victory.
Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne said he was elated that the team executed their game plan so well and managed to regroup after a first fifteen minutes of attacking play for little reward.
We came here tonight and did what we said we’d do,
He continued: "We went out and carried [the ball] hard early; we respected the ball and respected the game, and I was proud of the way we did that and got across the line and kept at it the entire match. It went exactly to the plan we had worked at. We know the boys carry hard and we know they carry well, and it was just a matter of getting the confidence that the team found tonight."
Byrne said the way forward for the team is a lot clearer after the win.
“We just have to keep building the confidence we showed tonight to get those carries and hold on to the ball and keep asking those questions of the opposition’s defence,” he said.
Rebels captain Michael Wells was disappointed with the away loss but was keen not to take anything away from the Fijian effort.
“They were deserving of the win, full credit to them,” Wells said.
“They are definitely a team that captivates an audience and it’s great to have them in Super Rugby, just not so good when you lose to them,” he said.
Over 1000 raucous fans cheered their adopted Fijian team to victory at their first official home match and the first ever Super Rugby Pacific match held at the stadium.
The large crowd was particularly pleasing given that the match was moved to Kawana Waters from a flood affected Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane only three days earlier.