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Drua back home but ticket sales plummet

The Fijian Drua are home after nine rounds of the Super Rugby Championship, to host what was supposed to be their only home game after revised fixtures.

On Tuesday, Drua chief executive officer Brian Thorburn announced that another home game has been confirmed for the round 15 clash against the Chiefs. This match is to be played at the Churchill Park in Lautoka on May 28.

Mr Thorburn told media in Fiji that the venue in Lautoka will need some tidying up and hopes that ticket sales would be better than this weekend’s clash against the Highlanders set for Saturday at the ANZ Stadium in Suva.

For the Suva clash, only 5,000 of the almost 15,000 capacity tickets are reported to be sold and Drua boss Thorburn hopes of a last minute surge.

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Most of the slow ticket sales is to do with the exorbitant ticket prices, when compared to Fiji standards.

While most Fijians hold the Drua to heart and never miss their matches on television despite their one win to eight loss record, the ticket prices maybe be too much for some.

To sit on the main pavillion, people are paying $180 (AUD116) and $150 (AUD97) depending where the seating is. The concrete embankment just across the pavillion is $75 (AUD48) and lowest price $30 (AUD19.50), where spectators either stand or sit on a grassy slope.

Because of the low ticket sales, Thorburn issued another warning to Fijian fans that he would ask for possible delayed coverage of the match.

fijian drua pacific rugby
Fijian Drua training. Picture: PINA

The players are spending their time on the day away from the training paddock in roadshows promoting sponsorship deals, and trying to boost ticket sales.

A homecoming event

The game against the Highlanders will be a special one for many of the Drua players. Most of them were playing grassroots rugby before making it into the Drua and have been in Australia since February.

As the players landed on Sunday, Mick Byrne said many were just looking to catch up with family.
If the home crowd support is present, there is very little doubt that the Drua could be heading to their second win. The question is if the Drua are going to play at home with a less than capacity crowd, and their fans not allowed the luxury of a live match.

The Drua face the Highlanders at 4.35pm (Fiji time) on Saturday.

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