Fijiana Drua have unveiled another weapon in their armoury as they completed a clean sweep of their regular season Super W matches with a 17-7 win over the Brumbies in Brisbane.
Renowned for free-flowing, ball-in-hand rugby, the first two of Fijianas three tries at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday were the result of well-executed forward drives and the third came after a lineout.
The fifth win from as many games confirmed first spot for the Fijian team, who advanced directly to the grand final on 24 April.
Their opponent will be determined on Thursday when NSW will host Queensland in an elimination semi-final.
NSW thrashed Queensland 46-0 in Sydney earlier on Saturday to clinch second and keep their arch-rivals in third.
The Brumbies finished fourth on the ladder, notching a win, a draw and three losses from their five fixtures.
On Saturday, the Brumbies defended well but had three players sin-binned and at one stage in the second half were down to 13 players for a couple of minutes.
While the Drua produced some of their trademark fluent rugby, they got their biggest pay from keeping it tight in the forwards, especially in the rainy conditions.
“We played to stick a bit on structure in this game, there was a bit more scrums than the last few games,” Fijiana captain and prop Bitlia Tawake told Stan Sport.
Fellow prop Joma Rubuti crashed over the line from close range in the 18th minute for the only score of the first half.
Brumbies’ captain and No.8 Rebecca Smyth was sin-binned on the half hour for making contact with the head of an opponent.
The game tilted further toward Fijiana in the first 20 minutes of the second half.
Two minutes after Brumbies five-eighth Ash Hewson was binned, Drua halfback Rusila Tamoi edged out her No.8 Sereima Leweniqila to fall on the ball for their second try on the back of a forward drive.
Brumbies’ flanker Talei Wilson got a yellow card, but Hewson was back on the field when halfback Jasmin Huriwai showed enormous strength to burrow over the line with players hanging on to her.
The successful conversion slashed the gap to five points but the Brumbies couldn’t manufacture any more scoring opportunities.
Centre Roela Radiniyavuni pounced on a Drua lineout throw which went beyond the forwards and sprinted 25 metres for a try.
“The girls played as best as they could for the whole game,” Smyth told Stan Sport.
“It was gruelling out there,” she said.