Fijiana Drua reigns, Moana Pasifika new sponsor

(1 April, 2022) Fijiana Drua pre-game warm up at CBus Super Stadium. PHOTO: Fijian Drua

The Fijiana Drua turned on the style to end the Waratahs’ 21-match unbeaten streak with a 29-10 win in their top-of-the-table clash on the Gold Coast over the weekend.

The Waratahs had not lost a match since the advent of the women’s competition in 2018, but the four-time champions had no answer to the Fijians’ attacking prowess and relentless defence.

Triumphant Fijiana captain Bitila Tawaki was delighted that the Drua managed to preserve their unbeaten record in 2022, to go outright top of the table two weeks out from the finals. “Really pleased for the girls with the performance… Thanks to the Waratahs for giving us such a good game. It wasn’t an easy game,” said Tawaki.

Losing captain Grace Hamilton said the Waratahs were punished for trying to beat the Drua at their own game.  “It was a really tough game today… We tried offloads, which is not our game. We’ve just got to play the platform… We just let them into the game, and they capitalised on our mistakes.”

Fiji Drua tough loss

A different outcome for Fiji’s men’s side, with the Fiji Drua crushed 14-38 against the NSW Waratahs.

The Drua spent 30 minutes playing a man short after their normally inspirational captain Nemani Nagusa was red carded for a late and high tackle on Tane Edmed, then halfback Frank Lomani copped a yellow for a third illegal tackle.

The Waratahs punished the Drua immediately after both dismissals, piling on 24 points in the influential duo’s absence. “It’s always tough when you lose men quite early in the game and our discipline let us down,” Drua fly-half Teti said.

“We showed glimpses of what we can do with the ball, but the Waratahs did a good job hanging on to it when we were a man short… It’s always tough, especially at Super Rugby level and we’ve definitely got to work hard on our discipline for sure.”

MoanaBlues red card dilemma

Meanwhile, Moana Pasifika’s 46-16 loss to the Auckland Blues has been marked by a controversial red card for Blues winger Caleb Clarke.

In the 52nd minute, and with the Blues comfortably leading 36-16, Clarke leaped high to attempt to charge down Alosio’s chip and chase down the right-hand sideline.

Instead of making contact with the ball, Clarke’s right knee made contact with the left side of Alosio’s head. Clarke was in the air before Alosio, who had earlier scored his team’s only try, kicked the ball.

However, referee James Doleman, after consulting his television match official, was unmoved by Clarke’s pleas or that of his skipper Dalton Papalii, and off the No.11 went. Alosio, who was prone on the side of the field for many minutes, left the field for medical attention.

Global service provider sponsors Moana Pasifika

Moana Pasifika has signed their inaugural Super Rugby Pacific sponsorship, with Digicel Pacific becoming the new sponsor for the team’s jersey sleeve for the 2022 season.

Moana Pasifika’s CEO, Pelenato Sakalia, is excited to welcome Digicel to the Moana Pasifika aiga. “Our partnership with Digicel is significant for Moana Pasifika, and we are excited to welcome them into our family… We look forward to proudly wearing Digicel on our jersey sleeve in front of our fans and supporters,” says Sakalia.

Digicel Regional CEO, Shally Jannif said: “Our support for Moana Pasifika showcases the synergies between our brands, and our strong DNA makes sense for this partnership – connecting our islands, our people and our passion – rugby and a team that belongs to and represents our Pacific culture and heritage.”