The Fijian Drua at home

Fijian Drua fans, the Jiuta family support opposing teams

A Super Rugby festival in the islands

By Alipate Pareti

This year, the Fijian Drua home fans have been able to cheer on their sides in person, and there are two more opportunities to do so before the final whistle blows on the season.

Whether it is at Suva’s HFC Bank Stadium or Lautoka’s Churchill Park, you best believe the home games offer a totally unique bula experience.  It’s not just a game, it’s a rugby festival.

Not only will you get to witness awesome Fijian flair and flamboyant rugby action, the game-day atmosphere and activities guarantee a fun family day for locals and visitors alike.

Once inside the gates, you’ll immediately be hit by the loud Fijian music resonating from the massive speakers. Just try to stop yourself singing along to the popular ‘Suka na Vuli’ and ‘Amu Sa Dege’ which are usually the top choices. 

Here’s my first pro tip: Try to arrive early at the stadium to avoid the long lines. The Drua has a large following at home. No promises, but there’s also whispers of free Fijian Drua merchandize for the first 100 ticket holder at the gates! 

The food stalls are a must-try. I always aim for the $2 roti parcels but the sweet smoky aroma of the Fijian street-style barbeque ($8 – $10) is also tempting. These two dishes are the all-time crowd favorites in Fiji, although a little part of me was hoping to see someone selling authentic lovo food at the games. Maybe this year right? 

And speaking of crowd favorites, a nice cold ($2) bottle of kumquat juice or fresh green coconut will really go down well with your choice. For our adult audiences, Lami Kava and Paradise Beverages have you covered. Just make sure to bring enough money and please do enjoy it responsibly.

Hot and you forgot to bring your umbrella? Occasionally there are vendors selling freshly woven coconut palm hats for between $5 to $10. Not only will it save you from the heat, this can also be a nice souvenir to remember the occasion. So be on the lookout for them.

Keep an eye out too for the kids’ corner, where little rugby fans can enjoy jumping on the bouncing castle and have their faces painted. 

The grandstands are good and comfortable but I think all the fun and action is at the embankment and grass section. Just trust me on this one. You’ll see what I mean when you get there.

That man you hear bellowing “Toso Drua Toso” at the top of his lungs? That’s Freddrick Raiwalui –the voice of the Fijian Drua—building the energy of the crowd. Make sure to cheer along because the atmosphere will lift as the game proceeds. That’s a promise!

The half-time shows are always epic and feature fun activities, games and maybe a dance-off with ‘Ouch Mama’ – one of Fiji’s most popular radio personalities. 

After the game, the players normally do a lap of gratitude around the park. You can take selfies and group photos with them. I’ve also seen them give souvenirs after the games, so make sure to stick around!

VIP ticket holders have access to an after-match party where fans get to mingle with the players over a spread of unlimited free drinks, with a variety of food and snacks to munch on. Check out the VIP Drua Experience on the team’s site to find out how to book this package.

This season, Salestino Ravutaumada and Iosefo Masi are the players to watch out for. Captain Meli Derenalagi will need senior players such as Frank Lomani and Isoa Nasilasila to help steer the Drua forward. I’m also excited to see what the new fly half, Isaiah Armstrong Ravula, can produce this season.

Asinate Serevi will captain the women. I’m anticipating the enterprising return of Jade Coates and Siteri Rasolea, who sustained injuries last year. 

Since the Drua’s entry to the competition, both teams have had good seasons. The men will be aiming to go one better than last year and secure a home quarter final. And will we see a three-peat from the women, who are 2-time Super W champions? We hope so!

Memorable moments from last season? Well, besides shaking hands with the ‘Ice-Man’ Sir Michael Jones and nearly doing the hongi with Ardie Savea, that would be meeting Seva Newton, a 76 year old fan from Ovalau. He’s been closely following the Drua from the first season and has yet to miss any of the home games.

 I will never forget meeting Mr Newton. He really reminded me how much the Fijian people love their rugby. If the Fijian Drua decides to open a life-time membership club for its supporters, I hope they will remember him.

This year’s fans can also take advantage of the Drua’s newly introduced ticketing package. It includes a return bus trip from every town around Viti Levu with a complimentary grass ticket. 

If you are travelling from outside Fiji, please visit the Fijian Drua travel section where you can get affordable deals including, return flights, hotel accommodation, game tickets and much more. 

Drua packages for local fans

Drua packages for fans travelling from overseas

Fans in full-flight

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