3 months ago

Match Reports

Match reports of both Fijiana Drua and Fijian Drua in their Round 8 games against the Brumbies.

Fijiana do it again, while Drua men continue to improve 

The Rooster Chicken Fijiana Drua pulled out all stops in their last round-robin Super W match to continue their undefeated record with a hard fought 17-7 win over the Brumbies at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Saturday evening.

The first try scored by Fijiana’s Joma Rubuti at the 18-minute mark followed some uncharacteristic jostling between players before swift intervention from the referee.

The unbeaten Fijiana were optimistic of a win coming in following a solid game against the Waratahs last week.

The slippery conditions kept the scoring low with Fijiana headed to the change rooms at half-time to reset with a slender 5-point lead.

Additional tries to Rusila Tamoi at the 53-minute mark and a flying Roela Radiniyavuni eight minutes before the end resulted in a 17-7 victory and retention of the team's perfect record this season.

And while persistent rain throughout the 80 minutes was a leveller, it also produced more of an arm wrestle contest than the Fijiana team would have liked.

Captain Bitila Tawake said she was happy to take home the points.

It was a bit scrappy and tougher than our past few games, but we came out with the win and I thank the girls for that

Fijiana Drua Captain

Bitila Tawake

The full-time score catapults the Drua women into the history books to become the first international Super Rugby women’s team to make a grand final.

This week's men’s clash against the top of the table Brumbies was another crucial encounter, ahead of next week's bye and upcoming clashes against the Kiwi sides.

Hopes of a win for the Swire Shipping Fiji Drua men’s team were questioned early with Tuidraki Samusamuvodre earning himself a yellow card and the depleted team conceding yet another first score, this time to the Brumbies’ Tom Wright. 

The super swift Brumbies defence also ensured the Drua remained scoreless in the first twenty minutes - a consistent and unenviable trait that has dogged the team for their entire Super Rugby Pacific debut series – taking them to the half time break scoreless at 12-0.

Although the ball was greasy, some unforced handling errors deep in Brumbies territory early in the second half did the Drua no favours until a breakaway converted try by Onisi Ratave broke the drought 48 minutes in.

A second Ratave try at the 64-minute mark gave the home team some heart.

The Drua intensity noticeably went up a notch, but rock-solid Brumbies defence and a propensity to take opportunities as they presented themselves saw the score slowly advance in favour of the visitors in the final 20 minutes.

Head coach Mick Byrne, who sat out last week's 38-14 loss to the Waratahs, called for a more disciplined effort tonight from his young charges against a Brumbies team also smarting from a last match loss.

The expectations are that we just want to go out there and give it our best shot [each week],

Head Coach

Mick Byrne

He continued: "we just need to keep trying. We make errors because we are looking to play the game and I said from day one that I wasn't going to stifle that attitude. It gets frustrating at times when we don't hang on to the ball, and we expose ourselves a little bit, but we will continue to persist with it and we'll all grow from it. And our game will continue to improve."

In the end the flag waving, singing and dancing crowd of vocal Fiji fans just wasn’t quite enough for Drua in a match that saw the Brumbies gallop to a 21-point win (33-12).

Brumbies captain Nic White said he was impressed at the changes he has seen in the Drua since their round 2 clash.

"We beat them that first time, but every round the Drua are getting more competitive.

"We found tonight that we couldn't switch off anywhere,” he said.

Ageless Brumbies warrior James Slipper, who will turn 33 in June and started his professional career at Suncorp Stadium, reached his 150-match milestone with the win.