Loud shouts of cheers and happiness echoed across Fiji’s skies on Saturday as the nation celebrated the Fijiana Drua Super W title win against the NSW Waratahs 32 – 26.
Leading the celebration was Fiji’s Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama, who shared his words of gratitude for the Fijiana women saying, “I have never seen rugby played by women that good… one of the members of the opposition team, later on, said they were playing 7 a side in 80 minutes and I think that’s true. When you watch the girls play, it was played at a fast pace and that is something that I have never seen before in rugby.”
The final was epic and as both teams fought hard right to the last whistle. The Waratahs did not make it easy for the Fijiana Drua and were determined to retain their championship by scoring a hatrick of their own through hooker Natalie Delamare.
Waratahs half-back Iliseva Batibasaga was tremendous in the rucks, as she turned over more than a couple of balls for the Waratahs. Skilful lock forward Sera Naiqama was creating havoc in the line-outs and was unbeaten in the aerial battles. Both players share very strong links to Fiji and did not shy away charging against their fellow kinswoman.
Although suffering two yellow cards due to indiscretions, the Fijiana Drua scored a series of exhilarating tries themselves.
Sensational centre Roela Radiniyavuni and speedster Kolora Lomani had an outstanding game and scored a try each.
Winger Vitalina Naikore was in scintillating form as she also bagged three tries in the final, one of which was the last nail to the Waratahs coffin in the 73rd minute of the game. Naikore was also awarded the player of the Super W Championship 2022.
However, it was the breathtaking long range try by Timaima Ravisa in the 69th minute that changed the tide of the Fijiana Drua. This was a crucial point in the game because the Drua were down 22 – 26 and the Waratahs were mounting another surge.
It was Ravisa’s try that rejuvenated the Drua’s efforts and pushed her team towards the win.
Captain Bitila Tawake and number 8 Sereima Leweniqila was instrumental in keeping their team together by assisting each other in the leadership role.
After the match, Fiji Rugby Union Operations Manager, Sale Sorovaki, said: “For them to come out without a loss, it shows the resilience of the team and also the coaching team which includes Senirusi Seruvakula, Inoke Male and Mike Legge and also the support staff that are behind them. It is history in the making.”
Sorovaki also hinted that overseas clubs and many interested parties will be looking to approach the women after performing exceptionally well throughout the tournament.
This historic win by the Fijiana Drua will leave a lasting legacy for young rugby players especially young girls and women who aspire to become professional rugby players.