NSW Waratahs complete perfect season with commanding win over Fijian Drua

The NSW Waratahs have claimed their fifth Super Rugby Women’s title with a 50-14 win over the Fijian Drua at Ballymore. 

Winger Desiree Miller finished the game with a hat-trick as they built an early lead in the first half. 

The defending champion Drua kept themselves in the game with tries on either side of the break before the class of the Waratahs’ superstar players shone through. 

Player of the Match Atasi Lafai, Arabella McKenzie, Piper Duck and Georgina Friedrichs helped to flip momentum and saw the Waratahs run away with the game. 

They scored three tries in seven minutes as Maya Stewart got a double to avenge their defeats in the 2022 Final and 2023 semi-final. 

Two late tries sealed the victory for the minor premiers, who were the only team to finish the season with a positive points difference such was their dominance. 

The defending champions came out physical in the opening minutes but the Waratahs were up for the challenge and caught them with a first half blitz thanks to their speedy wingers. 

It started in the 12th minute when the Drua overthrew their lineout five metres out, presenting a chance for the deadly Waratahs’ backline to strike via Miller. 

They rolled down the field as the likes of Piper Duck and Atasi Lafai made major metres. It set up the ruthless combo of Friedrichs and Stewart to combine as the winger went over for her 37th try in Super Rugby Women’s. 

With the Drua stunned, Layne Morgan caught them napping after a scrum penalty, reading the situation perfectly to put Miller in for her second. 

The Drua eventually railed and found themselves over the line, only to lose the ball centimetres out. 

The major potential turning point of the match came in the 31st minute as the defending champs went on the attack, with winger Miller batting the ball down to prevent a certain try, the referee awarding the penalty try and giving the flyer a seat on the bench for ten. 

The Waratahs held off until the break with Miller in the bin but couldn’t stop captain Karalaini Naisewa from short, reducing the margin to 17-14. 

As the game hung in the balance, up stepped the Wallaroos core of the Waratahs fuelled by thoughts of previous defeats. 

Flyhalf Arabella McKenzie was the spark, racing into space to set up the opportunity for Skye Churchill to score, however, she was hit high by Adita Milinia. 

The resulting yellow card and penalty try flipped the momentum and centre Fredricchs was influential in putting the game out of reach. 

She broke the line twice in three minutes, setting up Miller’s third before drawing yet another yellow card for a high shot, this time Jenifer Ravutia, engineering the space for Stewart’s second.  

The Waratahs were home when Friedrichs crossed for a well-deserved try, with outstanding lock Lafai bringing up the half century with seven minutes to go.