Waratahs determined to stop Drua Super W three-peat

Melissa Woods |

NSW’s Piper Duck (left) and Fiji’s Karalaini Naisewa ahead of the Super Rugby Women grand final.
NSW’s Piper Duck (left) and Fiji’s Karalaini Naisewa ahead of the Super Rugby Women grand final.

The NSW Waratahs are determined that they won’t be denied another Super W title by Fijian Drua with the teams squaring off in the grand final in Brisbane on Sunday.

The teams will meet at Ballymore with the Drua looking to claim their third successive crown.

The Fijian outfit beat the Waratahs by six points in the 2022 decider and then last year handed the NSW side their first loss of the season in the semi-finals before going on to beat Queensland in the final.

Waratahs captain Piper Duck played in both matches and said last year’s semi-final heart-break was fuelling the four-time champions’ charge towards their first trophy since 2021.

“The pain from last year is definitely felt and something we don’t want to feel again,” Duck said on Saturday. 

 “We’ve had this goal all season to put ourselves in the best spot necessary to make the final so there’s a lot of excitement but understanding we’ve got one more job to do and it’s going to be a tight one.

“We’re focused on having a really good performance in the 80 minutes against Fiji and we know it’s going to be hard.”

This year NSW made no mistake in their semi-final with a 47-27 victory over the ACT Brumbies while the Drua had a tougher time before holding out the Western Force 25-14.

The Waratahs have named the same 23 players that downed the Brumbies in Sydney, making one positional change with tighthead prop Eva Karpani starting ahead of fellow Wallaroo Bridie O’Gorman, who is among the reserves.

The Drua have also made a front-row swap after the suspension to Ana Korovata with Bitila Tawake in for her first start of the season.

NSW have again gone through the five-round season without a loss, thrashing the Drua in round two on their home turf in Fiji 62-21.

Drua captain Karalaini Naisewa said that her side had built into the season.

“We weren’t as fit back then and the weather was so hot,” Naisewa said of the heavy loss.

“We never want to blame the weather but it’s just how we trained so we’re coming into tomorrow confident we can do our best.”