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Waratahs return to familiar territory as they look to shut down Fijiana Drua

Fri, 22/04/2022, 5:04 am
Nathan Williamson
by Nathan Williamson
Waratahs captain Grace Hamilton and Fijiana captain Bitila Tawake have spoken about their excitement ahead of the Super W final in Melbourne.

Waratahs captain Grace Hamilton is preparing for their 'toughest final yet', looking to find the solution to stopping a rampaging Fijiana Drua.

The Waratahs have plenty of experience on the big stage, with just two changes from the starting side in last year's 45-12 Final victory over the Reds.

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However, this looms as the toughest of their five Grand Finals as they look to shut down the regular-season champions Drua, who handed the NSW-based side their first loss in 20 games.

"The last time we played them we were a bit taken aback," Hamilton told reporters on Friday. 

"We haven't played that style of rugby in a lot of years due to not being able to play a lot of Test matches with COVID-19 so for a lot of girls it was eye-opening.

"They play different styles of footy - they're fast and they're physical... they love an offload game and they're really unstructured."

Hamilton was confident the Grand Final will provide the lift in intensity needed to avoid being sucked into the Drua's brutal style of gameplay.

"I think we got caught into playing like them last time and tried to off-load ball and that's not really us," she admits.

"It's about sticking into our game plan, how we want to play and controlling that territory…we know we can be better and we had points (opportunities) but we just didn’t execute. We have to be physically up for the battle and we’re excited for it and it’s going to be one of the tougher finals we’ve played in.

“We love being in Grand Finals and it’s a big occasion.We say it’s just another game for footy for us…we can’t take them lightly and we have to do the best we can for our team and play the style we want to play. It’s all about execution for us and gaining that territory

“It’s exciting (to be in a Grand Final) and I think everyone lifts strategically as well.”

READ MORE:

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PLENTY TO PROVE: Australian teams out to make statement

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For the Fijiana Drua, the chance to bring home the title in their inaugural year would cap off an incredible six months for the expansion club.

Hooker and captain Bitila Tawake is one of several who has seen the rewards of their hard work and sacrifice as support back home continues to grow.

“The girls sacrificed so much back at home to be here and represent the people back home and our families,” Tawake explained.

“Most of the girls had to leave their work and most of us are passionate about Rugby so it’s good to be here.

“It means a lot for every woman back home who play Rugby in Fiji. Being out there and being the first Fijiana team in the Super W competition means a lot to the girls.

“The support back home is nothing we’ve seen before. We never imagined it to be this big.”

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