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Fiji powerhouse between Western Force and minor premiership

If championships were won on statistics alone NRC leaders Fiji Drua could be handed the winners trophy right now.

But despite their daunting on-field numbers Fiji they are just one point ahead of Western Force. And the other figures mean nothing with the minor premiership and a guaranteed home semi-final on the line in Saturday afternoon’s clash at UWA Sports Park.

Fiji are the competition top try and point scorers, they have made the most attacking metres, most ball carries, most line breaks, most defenders beaten and most off-loads.

They have also conceded least tries and missed the second-fewest tackles.

Full-back Apisalome Waqatabu is leading points scorer and second highest try scorer with winger Levani Kurumudu while fly-half Alivereti Veitokani leads the table in attack metres.

But there are three crucial statistics that will not have gone unnoticed by Force coach Tim Sampson.

Fiji’s 109 turnovers are the worst in competition, they are the most penalised side, having given away 84 penalties, and been handed five yellow cards in six games.

The breakdown is where the back-row trio of Tevin Ferris, Chris Alcock and Brynard Stander will be waiting to pounce while the powerful Force scrum will look to break open the Fijian forwards.

“You can play them two ways,” Sampson said.

“You can kick a lot of footy away and try and pin them down in their own half or try and retain possession, keep the ball and frustrate them.

“We have to retain possession for long periods and I’m sure opportunities will open up.

“There are no freebie kicks. We’ve got to find the jackpot, find touch, or find the turf and apply pressure through the kick chase.

“They have scored 50 per cent of their tries from their own half. They are very dangerous coming from their own half.

“We just have to play what has worked for us, simple basic footy.”

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