Season over for Derenalagi and Tuni

May 18, 2022 7:18 pm

Meli Derenalagi and Meli Tuni

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua captain Meli Derenalagi and young prop Meli Tuni’s 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season are over.

The duo will undergo immediate surgery for ACL injury.

The injuries and required rehabilitation mean both players are out for the remainder of the season, in a significant setback for the Drua.

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Head Coach Mick Byrne says it was a difficult decision to make, however, it has been taken with the health of the players first and their longevity as athletes.

Byrne adds it’s also in the interest of the Drua to ensure Derenalagi and Tuni undergo surgery immediately, as this gives them the best chance of being available for the start of next season.

The Drua coach also says any delays now will eat into both players’ preparations for the opening rounds of Super Rugby Pacific 2023.

Byrne has also announced his line-up against the Crusaders with former Reds winger Ilaisa Droasese set to make his Drua debut off the bench.

In the front row, Kaliopasi Uluilakepa and Samuela Tawake return to the starting line-up while Zuriel Togiatama retains his role as a hooker.

Isoa Nasilasila is joined in the second row by the returning Ratu Rotuisolia.

Joseva Tamani starts at blindside flanker, Mesulame Dolokoto retains his seven jumper, and season captain Nemani Nagusa is back at number eight.

The halves pairing for this week are Peni Matawalu and Caleb Muntz while Teti Tela shifts to inside centre, with the in-form Kalaveti Ravouvou moving to outside centre.

Vinaya Habosi and Selestino Ravutaumada are on the wings with Kitione Taliga at fullback.

The Drua takes on Crusaders at 7:05pm on Friday and you can watch it LIVE and FREE on FBC Sports channel on Walesi platform.

Round 14 vs Crusaders
Swire Shipping Fijian Drua Matchday 23

1. Kaliopasi Uluilakepa
2. Zuriel Togiatama
3. Samuela Tawake
4. Isoa Nasilasila
5. Ratu Rotuisolia
6. Joseva Tamani
7. Mesulame Dolokoto
8. Nemani Nagusa (c)
9. Peni Matawalu
10. Caleb Muntz
11. Vinaya Habosi
12. Teti Tela
13. Kalaveti Ravouvou
14. Selestino Ravutaumada
15. Kitione Taliga

16. Tevita Ikanivere
17. Haereiti Hetet
18. Manasa Saulo
19. Chris Minimbi
20. Raikabula Momoedonu
21. Leone Nawai
22. Ilaisa Droasese
23. Tuidraki Samusamuvodre