A high point | Drua playoffs qualification a coaching highlight, says Byrne

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua replacement outside centre, Michael Naitokani on attack against the Queensland Reds defence during their Super Rugby match at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva on Saturday, June 03, 2023. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua head coach Mick Byrne says their historic Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific quarter-finals berth is one of the highlights of his coaching career.

The Drua beat the Reds 41-17 on Saturday at the HFC Bank Stadium in Suva and will take on the Crusaders next week in the quarter-finals, and Byrne said it was a great feeling to achieve their target.

“It’s definitely one of the highlights, if not the highlight of my coaching career,” said Byrne.

“I’ve been fortunate enough to be involved with various experienced teams over the years with legendary players. Those players challenge you to become a better coach.

“Then you have these guys who have such a low base and work so hard to get to the top and it’s massively satisfying to sit back and see how much work they’ve put in to get there.

“That’s the highlight for me. Where we were 18 months ago to where we are today is a massive highlight for me.”

Byrne said they would go back to the drawing board this week to plan ahead for their quarter-final clash in Christchurch.

“We know we’ll be going down there and that’ll get us pretty focused when we get back to Nadi,” Byrne said.

“Get a good recovery and turn up on Monday to prepare again for the next task.”

The Drua and Crusaders match will kick-off at 7.05pm on Saturday with the Christchurch-based side looking to avenge their 25-24 loss in Lautoka in round three this year.

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