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Olympic champions and test stars named in Fijian Drua pre-season side



Olympic gold medallists, Fijian internationals and a Kiwi playmaker have all been named to start for the Fijian Drua in their final pre-season hit out of the year.

The match will act as the expansion franchise’s last match before they kick their debut Super Rugby Pacific campaign off against the Waratahs in Sydney next Friday.

In preparation for their season-opener, head coach Mick Byrne has named an extended squad to play the Rebels, featuring a 16-man reserves list.

Of those named in his starting team, four players – hooker Tevita Ikanivere, tighthead prop Samu Tawake, No 8 and captain Nemani Nagusa and halfback Simi Kuruvoli – are Fijian internationals.

Blindside flanker Meli Derenalagi is also a notable inclusion given his status as a gold medal-winner with the national Fijian sevens side at last year’s Tokyo Olympics.

Derenalagi’s fellow Olympic champion Napolioni Bolaca has also been included on the bench, but has missed a place in the starting lineup to New Zealand first-five Baden Kerr, who is the only non-Fijian player in the Drua squad.

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