A step up! | Byrne: Finals footy a whole new game

Swire Shipping Fijian Drua players from left, Simione Kuruvoli, Kalaveti Ravouvou, Meli Tuni and Iosefo Masi during training in Nadi on Tuesday, June 06, 2023. Picture: FIJIAN DRUA

The Swire Shipping Fijian Drua side will not be riding on their 25-24 regular season win when they take on the Crusaders in the quarter-finals of the Shop N Save Super Rugby Pacific this Saturday.

The Drua travel to Christchurch this week to play in its first ever quarterfinal after joining the competition last year.

Coach Mick Byrne said while the win gave them confidence, they know the Crusaders will be a changed outfit this Saturday.

“We beat them this year and that gives us confidence, but I don’t know how many times they have beaten teams in finals that they had lost to in the regular season,” said Byrne.

“Seeing the boys training this week, I know they will give it their all this weekend. They will be clinical, they will be fast, they will challenge our speed around the paddock,” he added.

Byrne said the speed of the game will be different in the playoffs and his team is looking forward to matching up with the defending champions.

“With finals football, it’s a whole lot new game. It’s like a new season starting. The physicality has lifted, the intensity has lifted. Boys are really looking forward for lifting their physicality,” said Byrne.

“They (Drua players) have been disappointed a couple of time this year and I know they will leave nothing behind when they go out on Saturday.”

The match kicks off at 7.05pm at Orangetheory Stadium on Saturday.

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