Chiefs wary of Drua on home soil in Fiji

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The Chiefs have a record of playing home games in Fiji in recent years, but their game in Lautoka on Saturday is a new venue against home opposition.


Coach Cameron McMillan said the Chiefs know they need to win to secure a home playoff game and was wary of the Fijians.


"Playing at home, we saw they grew another leg," he said of their earlier game against the Highlanders.


"It will be foreign conditions to us, with the heat, humidity and, potentially, some tropical downpours, the state of the ground. We've got no control over those things.


"We know it's going to be a bit of a festival atmosphere, but a fairly hostile one.


"We're under no illusions as to the challenge. They're a good team with some powerful athletes.


"That we've got them last, and they're at home with nothing to lose, makes them as dangerous as anyone."


McMillan said the Drua had worked on their set-piece which was good, but they retained their unpredictability, athleticism and skill.



"When they've displayed that in games they've been a challenge at times for every team," he said.


McMillan said the Fijians were conservative earlier in the season but have since reverted to their traditional game.


Halfback Brad Weber said Fijian Drua's inclusion in the competition had provided a new flavour and 'a fair bit of razzle'.


"It's exciting. We've taken three home games to Fiji in the last four or five years, so we are no strangers to playing in Fiji, a lot of us, and the support they get. Their inclusion has been great so far," he said.


While they played other New Zealand sides in Fiji, the interest among Fijians for those games had been outstanding and turning up two hours before the game to go through their warm-ups, the teams found the ground was packed.


His other memory of those games was the heat and the sweat saturated jerseys at the end of the games.


The challenges the Drua offered were their big ball carriers who could make offloads from anywhere, while there was speed and agility among their outside backs.


The return of All Blacks lock Brodie Retallick was a boost for the side, although flanker Sam Cane would not be playing.


"Brodie's back. He'll be starting. Sam is not quite ready.


"The other locks have done a great job in his absence, but he brings a high level of experience that is beneficial to the team. It's a good boost at this time of year."



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