Rugby Fijana Drua success shows where Super W can go from here
It was fast, furious, exciting and close to the perfect grand final spectacle to cap off Super W’s best season to date, with the inclusion of Fijiana Drua in the competition a resounding success after a thrilling 32-26 victory over the Waratahs.
Entering the season as league unknowns, Drua was quick to make an impression, crushing the Force in the first round, backing it up with a big win over perennial Super W Bridesmaids Queensland. Reds, before ending the Waratahs’ 20-game winning streak. impressively in turn 4.
Bringing discharge play with plenty of flair and exuberance, the Fijiana style of play has introduced a new dimension to competition – forcing Australia’s top players to stretch their own game and elevate their skills in an attempt to match and beat. stop Drua’s weapons.
But their big final victory showed that Fijiana refused to be one-dimensional. Withstanding endless pressure from the Waratahs, Drua unleashed his raging attackers as they kept the ball tight and tried to force their way through the defensive line through what seemed like endless selection and practice, before that their vaunted back line exposes even the slightest defensive shortcomings. .
Their tries were impressive, but so was their defense, which on several occasions was forced to maintain its integrity while a player was down. Their first-half efforts to resist Tahs’ pressure on their tryline after hooker Vika Matarugu was shown in yellow was emblematic of the team’s strength.
While it was a devastation for the four-time champion Waratahs, and no other Australian team came close to defeating the newcomers, the inclusion of Drua added another dimension to a competition that was beginning to stagnate and received the seal endorsement from Waratahs coach Campbell Aiken who wants the rest of the league to catch up to the standards of the Tahs and Drua.
“I think the competition needed it, period,” Aiken said of Drua’s inclusion. “My take is that it got a bit boring and he needed it. It’s not great for one team to dominate quite comfortably for so long for any competition. The new entry makes it more exciting for the fans and that’s what we want to develop the game and that’s the main thing.
“To beat Queensland 82 to nil in two games over the past two weeks is a sign that the competition is not as strong as it should be in Australia. Fijiana came in and set a benchmark that we have to work harder and ultimately that’s what we want and that makes our girls better, makes Australian women’s rugby better, but the rest of the competition needs to take that and improve to make it a better competition.”
So where does Super W go from here? Fijiana’s inclusion revealed just how much Australian rugby needs to improve. The Waratahs, who bounced back from a 29-10 loss in Round 4 to push the new champions through to the Grand Finals, show players have the ability to learn and grow quickly. To do this, the competition needs more investment, with Drua demonstrating how a full-time program can take a team to another level.
“Fijiana has been here for three or four months now, full time, and you can see the difference it makes and I would definitely love to see that investment in our daughters who have worked very hard and you can see they put their hearts into it. and soul there and run a pretty close full-time team,” Aiken said.
“To be honest, we are disappointed, we should have a full-time program and that’s where the competition needs to improve and invest in it.”
With the expanded competition adding another level of depth to Australia’s playing ranks, Aiken believes taking the trans-Tasman Super W is the next logical step ahead of what has been billed as Australia’s women’s rugby golden decade with the Women’s Rugby World Cup almost confirmed. be hosted in Australia in 2029.
“Yes, without a doubt [we need to go trans-Tasman]”, said Aiken. “We had organized two games against the Chiefs and the Blues for the pre-season this year to go there and play against them, but COVID paid for that, but again, it was us who were looking to improve and I think we and Fijiana could definitely fit in comfortably in this tournament.
“It would be great to see that investment, and that step forward for our goals of actually playing Trans-Tasman, because that’s how you get tested and that’s how you get better and if we want that this sport is improving in this country, we need to invest in it, and we need to give the girls the opportunity to train more and achieve what they can achieve.”