Fijian Drua will get the chance to defend their NRC title after winning through to the semi-finals in a dramatic final day of fixtures on Saturday.
The Drua and Brisbane City sealed the final two places in the top four after the Western Force, who had sealed the minor premiership before their clash kicked off on Saturday afternoon, confirmed their favouritism for the title with a comprehensive win over Sydney.
But the final two matches were edge-of-the-seat stuff, with the Drua running in an 80th-minute try and Queensland Country kicker Rohan Saifoloi missing a penalty attempt after full-time in Sigatoka, ensuring the Fijians will have the chance to defend their title.
In the final fixture of the season, Brisbane needed to beat Melbourne to leapfrog NSW Country into the semis and looked to be well on their way after pushing to a 24-0 lead in the first half before the Rising fought back.
They spent the second half defending doggedly as the RIsing came within a single score but hung on despite playing the final stages with 13 men to seal their place in the final and a trip to Perth to take on the minor premiers next week.
Watch highlights and full replays of all Round 7 matches below.
CANBERRA VIKINGS vs NSW COUNTRY
The Canberra Vikings have secured a home semi-final after edging out the NSW Country Eagles 27-19 in Canberra.
In a torrid contest, Country made sure Canberra didn’t have it all their own way. Despite trailing 27-7 just after the break, the Eagles dominated up front in the final 30 minutes as halfback Jake Gordon’s magic saw Country roar home.
But spirited Canberra goal line defence in the closing stages cut short the Eagles’ charge and now the Vikings, with three straight victories under their belt will enter next week’s home final brimming with confidence.
Canberra Vikings 27
Tries: Pulu, Ikitau, Samu, Banks
Cons: Lonergan 2
NSW Country Eagles 19
Tries: Nawaqanitawase, Jones, Gordon
Cons: O'Shea 2
SYDNEY vs WESTERN FORCE
The Western Force have sealed the NRC minor premiership and stamped themselves as the team to beat this season after rounding out the fixture season with a 57-33 win over Sydney at Woollahra Oval.
They Force had lost only once leading into the game and while Sydney were out of finals contention, they had nothing to lose and threw everything at the team from the west in their final match of the season.
With Canberra failing to secure a bonus point in their win against NSW Country on Friday night, the Force had the minor premiership in their keeping before kick-off.
But they started as though their future in the competition depended on it, racing to a 26-7 lead at the break and scoring first in the second half to all but secure the win.
Western Force 57
Tries: Deegan, Fou 2, Lloyd, Ralston 2, Kaitu'u, Tizzano, Miller
Cons: Deegan 5, Strachan
Yellow card: Placid 33', Mio 72'
Tries: Reilly, Harrison, McCauley, Cotton, penalty try
Cons: Harrison 3
FIJIAN DRUA vs QUEENSLAND COUNTRY
The Fijian Drua will get the chance to defend their NRC title after an incredible end to their sudden-death clash against Queensland Country.
It looked to be the Drua who would have the early off-season after Country held a lead in the final minute and the referee awarding the visitors a penalty until all hell broke loose.
Up 24-21, Country opted to trust their set piece rather than take a shot at goal when awarded a penalty with time running out on the clock.
But they lost possession, with the desperate Drua pushing downfield and scoring in the 80th minute to take a 26-24 lead. Country then missed the chance to snatch victory back after the buzzer when Rohan Salfoloi missed a penalty attempt.
Fijian Drua 26
Tries: Dyer, Kurumudu, Waqatabu, Wainiqolo
Cons: Tikotani 3
Yellow card: Viriviri
Queensland Country 24
Tries: Wilson, Fittock, penalty try
Cons: Saifoloi 2
Yellow card: Felemi 25', Hockings 29'
BRISBANE CITY vs MELBOURNE RISING
If defence wins finals, Brisbane City have given themselves a chance of an upset over minor premiers Western Force next week with an outstanding display against a surging Melbourne earning them an NRC semi-final spot.
Playing the final fixture of the season, City had a simple task on Saturday afternoon - beat the Rising to earn a place in the playoffs.
And for the first 39 minutes of the game, things were going to plan, with City racing in four tries and pushing out to a 24-0 lead before the Rising hit back.
Desperate to finish their season on a high, the Rising spent the second half pegging back City's lead but the Brisbane boys stood firm, even when down to 13 men in the final stages of the match.
Brisbane City 24
Tries: Teli, Paenga-Amosa, Lucas, Wallis
Cons: Hegarty 2
Yellow cards: Van Nek 40', Naivalu 76', Hegarty 77'
Melbourne Rising 21
Tries: Penalty try, Leota, Haisila
Cons: So'oiola 2