The NSW Waratahs understand shutting down Fijian Drua fullback Atelaite Buna is crucial towards re-gaining the Super Rugby Women’s title at Ballymore on Sunday.

The Waratahs return to the Final after missing the 2023 edition with a 37-27 win over the ACT Brumbies.

“It was huge and something we’ve been working towards for the last 12 if not 18 months,” captain Piper Duck said after the game.

“Our theme is all around trust, not only in ourselves but in what we’ve done all season and thankfully we have had quite a dominant performance throughout the season.

“To be able to bring that into that game against a quality side like the Brumbies who played really hard and made us work for it, it was very rewarding but we still have a job to do.

“We understand that there’s still more to do but we’re very proud of what we’ve done so far.”

They’ll face a red-hot Fijian Drua side in a rematch of the 2022 Final, spearheaded by electric outside back Buna.
Atelaite Buna scores a hat-trick in the Fiji Drua’s Super Rugby Women’s clash wih the Waratahs.

Buna has been the find of the season for the Drua, torching the Western Force in their semi-final victory in front of a packed Suva crowd.

The livewire finished with a hat-trick with 11 tackle busts and four line breaks, with flyhalf Arabella McKenzie recognising the need to be smarter with their kicking.

McKenzie also backed their flyers to match it with the explosiveness of the Drua, with Maya Stewart (11) the leading try-scorer in 2024 whilst Desiree Miller scored a hat-trick in the semi-final win.

“I think they kicked it back a bit too much and not very tactical,” she remarked on the Force’s strategy last week.

“We need to try and hold onto the ball as much as we can and use our strengths, which is our speed and running game.

“(Our wingers) are phenomenal athletes and it was amazing to see Desi (Miller) come into fruition this year whilst Maya is probably one of the world’s best in terms of finishing and setting them up.

“They’re always surprise packages, you never know what you’re going to get on any day which can be frustrating to preview a team

“It just puts all the focus back onto us and how we prepare and train. They’ve got some amazing players and they always throw a surprise player here and there in so I’m looking forward to the challenge.”