Coach makes surprise call at number 7

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua players perform the i-bole before their Super Rugby match against the Queensland Reds at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Saturday, June 03, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

SWIRE Shipping Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne has named his matchday 23 for the historic Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final clash against the Crusaders this Saturday.

The squad is largely the same as last week, with the added highlight being the selection of Fiji Under-20 captain Motikiai Murray at openside flanker, as the Drua take on the defending champions in Christchurch.

Holding their positions in the front row are Haereiti Hetet at loosehead prop, Mesake Doge at tighthead, and Tevita Ikanivere as starting hooker.

A change to the second row sees Isoa Nasilasila this week partner with the returning Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta.

Vilive Miramira moves to blindside flanker position with Murray making his debut on the openside.

Captain Meli Derenalagi will again be the number 8 loose forward.

The starting halves remain the same with Frank Lomani at halfback partnering with Caleb Muntz at flyhalf.

After an impressive performance in last week’s victory over Reds, Kalaveti Ravouvou stays on the left wing to partner with Selestino Ravutaumada who moves back to right wing.

Teti Tela remains at inside centre with Iosefo Masi at outside centre. Ilaisa Droasese returns to complete the starting 15 at fullback.

On the bench, Zuriel Togiatama is cover for hooker, Meli Tuni is loosehead cover and Samuela Tawake is replacement tighthead prop.

Etonia Waqa will provide cover for the middle row, while Elia Canakaivata is the back-up loose forward.

Peni Matawalu will come off the bench as replacement halfback, while Michael Naitokani and Eroni Sau will cover the backline.

The Drua and Crusaders match will kick-off at 7.05pm tomorrow.

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