The Fijian Drua was traditionally and formally welcomed to their new base camp for the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific season at Lake Ainsworth Sport and Recreation Centre on 5 November.
The Drua squad was welcomed by Bundjalung custodian, Lois Cook, member of the NSW Legislative Council Ben Franklin, Ballina Shire Council mayor David Wright, and rugby personalities including Lennox Head’s Berrick Barnes, as well as community leaders.
The Drua received a traditional Welcome to Country ceremony acknowledgement their presence on Ngangbul Country in the Bundjalung Nation. The squad reciprocated and expressed their gratitude for the welcome by singing Vanua Domoni, a traditional song about their beloved land and country.
‘We thank the traditional owners, community heads and of course the NSW Government for making us feel so welcome here,’ Fijian Drua interim CEO Brian Thorburn said.
‘In addition to its world class facilities which are ideal for a professional rugby club like ours, Lake Ainsworth and Lennox Head offer an intimate town and community setting which will be familiar to our players.
‘The facility and its location works on two levels; balancing our need for focussed preparations for a gruelling first season with a relaxed environment with all other amenities our players and staff need.
‘We’re confident that the squad will be comfortable for the next eight months as we prepare for and compete in the toughest professional rugby competition in the world,’ he said.