Crusaders' Jason Ryan stoked with Fiji Drua's first win

Crusaders' assistant coach Jason Ryan says he is thrilled the Fiji Drua were able to stage a comeback win over the Melbourne Rebels in the Super Rugby Pacific Competition last Friday night.

Ryan is also assistant coach of the Flying Fijians - Fiji's national team.

His input has seen a huge improvement in Fiji's forward play.

This was put on show last year when Fiji's loose forwards embarrassed the All Blacks at the ruck in Dunedin, the All Blacks of course won the encounter 57-23 and the second test 60-13.

Ryan was called on by Fiji coach Vern Cotter in 2020 and will stay with Fiji until the 2023 World Cup in France.

He said he was stoked about the Fiji Drua's maiden victory at Sunshine Coast Stadium.

"It's really good, I was really thrilled for the Drua," Ryan said.

"They're pretty close to my heart, the old Fiji boys, with being involved with those lads in the national team.

"[I've] been keeping a close eye on them and talking to Mick Byrne and Jacko [Glen Jackson] with how they're tracking.

"I think it's good flavour. For them to win and beat the Rebels is a great boost for them - a lot of people thought they wouldn't win a game this year," he said.

He expects the win will help boost their self-confidence in the competition.

"They'll get better. The Fijians, once they get fit and get a bit of belief, they can upset anyone."

Ryan, who suffered from Covid-19 on Fiji's northern tour last year is fast becoming recognised for his work with forwards.

He is known to call on All Black scrum guru Mike Cron regularly and uses him as a mentor and sounding board.

Commenting on Moana Pasifika's debut against the Crusaders Ryan said although they lost 33-12 he was impressed by the newcomers.

"I think Moana Pasifika can be extremely proud of the energy that they've brought to the competition," he said.

"The culture that they've got and their own point of difference as a team, it's just great for the competition."

"There's probably going to be a bit of pain early with a few scores, but they're in the comp and it is what it is. They're making their mark in their own little way on the competition.

"I think it's exciting."

In upcoming fixtures, Moana Pasifika are down to play the Covid-19 hit Hurricanes while the Fiji Drua will face the Queensland Reds.