‘Massively satisfying’ growth of Fijian Drua warrants a playoff spot

Fijian Drua players on the charge Credit: Alamy
Fijian Drua players on the charge Credit: Alamy

Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne admits the growth of his players and the club is “massively satisfying” after they qualified for the Super Rugby Pacific play-offs for the first time.

Byrne’s men needed a win against the Reds in the final round of the regular season and the Drua prevailed with a resounding 41-17 victory in Suva.

A great achievement

It is a massive achievement considering it is only their second year in the competition and Byrne believes it ranks right up with his greatest achievements, which includes two World Cup medals as skills coach in 2011 and 2015.

“It’s definitely a highlight, if not the highlight, because I’ve been fortunate to be involved with very experienced teams with legendary players,” Byrne told AFP.

“And then you’re with these guys here who come from such a low base and work so hard to get there.

“It’s massively satisfying when you sit back and see how much work these guys do. That’s a highlight — where we were 18 months ago to where we are today.”

Byrne gave his team confidence by encouraging them to play with freedom at the break and getting the players to back themselves.

“These guys hold themselves back sometimes and I know that sounds ridiculous because everyone says ‘these guys, they play loose’,” he said.

“But they do hold themselves back, either because they respect the opposition or don’t have the confidence to just go out there and express themselves.”

Ready for any conditions.

The win in Suva earned the Drua a seventh-placed finish and subsequently a quarter-final against the Crusaders in Christchurch, and Byrne believes wet conditions will not be an issue for his side in the playoffs.

“When non-Fijians see Fiji, they think about the islands, they think about the sun and they see all those adverts,” he said.

“But when you’re living here like these young men have, you’re playing in mud for four months of the year and they just love it.

“Whatever the weather is, we’ll be right.”

READ MORE: Super Rugby Pacific quarter-final schedule confirmed

The article ‘Massively satisfying’ growth of Fijian Drua warrants a playoff spot appeared first on Planetrugby.com.