Super Rugby

Highlanders beat Fijian Drua in Suva




Fijian Drua and Highlanders will clash in Super Rugby Pacific for the first time. This historic contest is the first-ever professional franchise rugby match to be played in Suva, Fiji.

The Landers have won six of their last seven games in Super Rugby competitions when facing a team for the first time (L1), including their last three in succession.

  • The Otago franchise has a 37-17 win against Moana Pasifika earlier in the 2022 campaign.
  • Fijian Drua has lost their last six Super Rugby games in succession, conceding more than 30 points in all but one of those matches.
  • The Highlanders have won only one of their last 10 Super Rugby games (L9), they have scored 20 points or more in only four of those fixtures.
  • The Dunedin side has, however, won six of their last seven Super Rugby games against teams from outside New Zealand (L1) after having won only two of their eight (D1, L5).
  • Drua have made 82 offloads throughout the 2022 season, the second-most of any team in the competition (Chiefs – 94), while their 10 offloads resulting in a break, are the joint-second most.
  • The Fijians have carried the ball out of their 22m zone 86 times this season, 27 more times than any other team in the competition.
  • Mick Byrne’s side has scored four tries on possession beginning with a penalty tap in the competition, the joint-most of any team in the competition; indeed, the Hurricanes (4) are the only other team to have scored more than one try via this method.
  • Tony Brown’s men have kicked for 674 metres per game in 2022, the second-most of any team in the competition, and more than twice as many as the last-ranked Fijian Drua (332).

Players to watch

  • Jone Koroiduadua has a tackle success rate of 96% from his 28 tackle attempts this season, the highest rate of any player to attempt more than 15 tackles.
  • Andrew Makalio has scored three tries in his last four Super Rugby Pacific games including one try in each of his last two starts.

Match detail

We are waiting for the kick-off.

In the meantime, why not have a look at the match preview.

1.00: PEEEP! We are underway on what is a historic day for Super Rugby Pacific and Fiji rugby. The sold-out crowd went crazy for both Hakas, especially their home side’s welcome.

3.00: TRY! Kitione Taliga kick-started a sensational opening try on this emotional day. Taliga collected a kick inside his 22 and charged forward. The ball was recycled quickly to Vinaya Habosi on the touchline. Habosi broke down the sideline before drawing the defender and sending Frank Lomani away. The scrumhalf cut inside Mitch Hunt, and raced away under the posts – WOW! 5-0

5.00: CONVERSION! Teti Tela adds the extras. 7-0

7.00: Fetuli Paea thinks he’s scored, but you cannot put the ball against the base of the post. Scrum, Highlanders.

8.00: TRY! Hunt combines with Scott Gregory to send Sam Gilbert over in the corner after a swift attack from the scrum. 7-5

10.00: CONVERSION! Hunt levels from the touchline. 7-7

12.00: Landers looking dangerous after levelling.

15.00: TRY! Another sensational score for the hosts as Vinaya Habosi races away down the sideline 70 metres to score under the posts. Mesulame Dolokoto won an important turnover inside his 22 as the Highlanders advanced. The ball got shifted quickly to Joseva Tamani. The flanker sent a lob-wedge pass to the winger, who put on his jet shoes and afterburners to race away untouched for his fourth Super Rugby try of the season. #TOSODRUA! 12-7

16.00: CONVERSION! Tela adds the extras. 14-7

19.00: Highlanders earn themselves a kickable penalty after Selestino Ravutaumada strayed offside.

21.00: PENALTY! Hunt, under pressure from the crowd, slots the goal. 14-10

23.00: TRY! Habosi flew down the touchline once again to set up the Drua on the Landers’ line. Lomani sent the ball to Tela, who put in a grubber behind the visitors for Kalaveti Ravouvou to latch on to, beating the covering Scott Gregory to score. The crowd is going absolutely mental in Suva. 19-10

25.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 21-10

28.00: Another lost lineout gives the Highlanders some cheap possession on the halfway line.

30.00: A knock-on goes against Drua after Kalaveti Ravouvou knocks out the ball from Connor Garden Bachop’s hands.

32.00: TRY! A scrum penalty led to an attacking lineout inside the Fijian Drua 22. A lineout move led Marino Mikaele-Tu’u shrugging off Joseva Tamani before beating Lomani and Ravouvou to score under the posts. 21-15

34.00: CONVERSION! Hunt slots the easy kick. 21-17

37.00: It’s been a cracking half of Super Rugby Pacific in Suva, and the hosts have delivered an inspired opening 40 minutes for the home support.

39.00: Aaron Smith gets his hands tied at the back of the scrum, knocking on to give the Drua an attacking scrum.

40.00: Fijian Drua win a kickable penalty for not rolling away, Tela will take a shot.

41.00: PENALTY! Tela knocks over the chip shot. 24-17

The halftime score was Fijian Drua 24 Highlanders 17

41.00: PEEEP! We are back underway in Suva, Fiji.

44.00: The Highlanders have started better than they did in the first half, they are yet to concede.

47.00: The Highlanders win a kickable penalty.

49.00: PENALTY! Hunt makes no mistake. 24-20

52.00: Fijian Drua taking a while to get back into the game since the break.

54.00: A few mistakes lead to Drua winning a penalty after a shanked clearance did not go out.

57.00: It’s all Highlanders at the moment.

60.00: The Kiwis win another kickable penalty, but opt for an attacking lineout.

61.00: TRY! Rhys Marshall flops over the whitewash following a powerful rolling maul. 24-25

63.00: CONVERSION! The kick is good. 24-27

66.00: The crowd is getting loud again, they are imploring their heroes to find something from within. Brown’s side need to take the emotion out of the last quarter of an hour if they want a second win of the campaign.

68.00: Another lost lineout by the Drua in a good position gives away the possession, and releases the pressure.

71.00: The Kiwis are mounting another strong attack.

73.00: Hunt kicks a penalty to touch for a driving maul on the Fijian Drua try line. The game is now in the balance.

75.00: Fetuli Paea loses the ball in contact before the hosts win a penalty.

77.00: It’s squeaky bum time in Suva as the hosts search for a historic win on home soil.

79.00: It’s helter-skelter at the end of this pulsating Super Rugby clash in the South Pacific. A long series of attacks and counter-attacks ends with a final lineout for the home team inside their half.

81.00: The hooter sounds, the Landers win back possession, and clear to hold on for a slender victory in Suva.


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The final score is Fijian Drua 24 (24) Highlanders 27 (17)


Fijian Drua
Tries – Lomani, Habosi, Ravouvou
Pen – Tela
Con – Tela (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Tries – Gilbert, Mikaele-Tu’u, Marshall
Pen – Hunt (2)
Con – Hunt (3)
Drop –
Cards –

Match Officials
Referee: Brendon Pickerill
Assistant Ref 1: Jono Bredin
Assistant Ref 2: Mike Fraser
TMO: Aaron Paterson


Fijian Drua: 15 Kitione Taliga, 14 Selestino Ravutaumada, 13 Apisalome Vota, 12 Kalaveti Ravouvou, 11 Vinaya Habosi, 10 Teti Tela, 9 Frank Lomani, 8 Te Ahiwaru Cirikidaveta, 7 Meli Derenalagi (captain), 6 Joseva Tamani 5 Ratu Rotuisolia, 4 Viliame Rarasea, 3 Manasa Saulo, 2 Mesulame Dolokoto, 1 Haereiti Hetet.

116 Tevita Ikanivere, 17 Timoci Sauvoli, 18 Samuela Tawake, 19 Isoa Nasilasila, 20 Kitione Salawa, 21 Simione Kuruvoli, 22 Onisi Ratave, 23 Kitione Ratu.

Highlanders: 15 Connor Garden Bachop, 14 Sam Gilbert, 13 Thomas Umaga Jensen, 12 Fetuli Paea, 11 Scott Gregory, 10 Mitch Hunt, 9 Aaron Smith (captain), 8 Marino Mikaele-Tu’u, 7 Billy Harmon, 6 Christian Lio-Willie, 5 Sam Caird, 4 Bryn Evans, 3 Jermaine Ainsley, 2 Andrew Makalio, 1 Ethan de Groot.

Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Josh Hohneck, 19 Max Hicks, 20 Huge Renton, 21 Folau Fakatava, 22 Marty Banks, 23 Hugh Renton.

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