The Fijian Drua have confirmed they won’t play any of their historic 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season in Fiji.
The Drua have been included alongside fellow expansion side Moana Pasifika in the new-look 12-team Super Rugby Pacific competition that will come into being next year. They are joined by the 10 established Super clubs from New Zealand and Australia.
However, Fiji Rugby chairman Conway Beg has announced the team will be based entirely in Australia for “at least” the inaugural 2022 season. He said the intention was for the team to return to Fiji for 2023.
“This was a difficult but necessary decision to ensure that our first season in Super Rugby was as disruption-free as possible in order to achieve our objectives,” said Beg.
We need to give our team every opportunity for success, and the uncertainty around restriction-free travel between Fiji, Australia and New Zealand as early as February 2022 due to Covid-19 was just too great a risk
“For this reason, the Fijian Drua will be based in Australia for the 2022 season, playing their home and away matches in Australia and New Zealand.”
GOOSE BUMPS! Get set for more scenes like this with confirmation that Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua have been granted conditional licences to join a planned new professional competition next year.
— All Blacks (@AllBlacks) April 14, 2021
Fiji Rugby Union is expected to announce the Fijian Drua coach, players, team base and match venues in the coming days.
With five months before kick-off in February, the team is likely to be based in New Zealand because of the COVID-19 restrictions which could affect travel and fixtures if they set up camp in Fiji.
Moana Pasifika and the Fijian Drua franchises are expected to benefit from a $US1.6 million ($F3.34m) support from World Rugby.
The 15-week Super Rugby Pacific competition is scheduled to start on February 18 and ends on June 18, next year.