'They're not letting us get on with it': Fiji Drua adapting to Aussie slow-down tactics

Mick Byrne will take the slow-down tactics as a compliment and expects a more composed Fijian Drua side to test the Brumbies now their emotional Super Rugby Pacific debut is behind them.

The Drua, boasting just one man in five-eighth Baden Kerr with Super Rugby experience, lost 40-10 to the NSW Waratahs in Friday’s opening round.

Byrne’s side scored the game’s last try though and had their moments early, handling errors scuppering their progress before the Tahs got into stride.

There was no love lost between the sides in a niggling scrum battle, while the Drua learnt quickly how teams might plan to wreck plans of an up-tempo offence.

“It was interesting … two games against Australian teams (including a pre-season clash with Melbourne) and every time a whistle goes for a free kick someone gets the ball and throws it 30 metres away,” Byrne said.

“They’re obviously understanding of and respect us … they know what we can do and teams will try to do things like that.

“It slows the game down, the niggle starts, the pulling of players … they’re not letting us get on with the game and we learnt from that.

“Having faced it now, there’s a lot of things that go on to try and take your mind off the game.”

The squad’s exposure to a higher level of rugby came in their first fully-fledged match in general since October 2020.

“What we saw was a team that tried really, really hard to get the job done and made some unusual errors early,” he said.

“If we’d held onto the ball we would have been a bit more like the last 20 minutes, threatening. That last 20 is where we can be, so the expectations haven’t really changed.”