Fijian Drua 17-7 Brumbies
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 April 24.
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."
Waratahs 46-0 Reds
The NSW Waratahs have rebounded from their first Super W Loss with a 46-0 smashing of old rivals Queensland.
Hooker Natalie Delamere and winger Margot Vella crossed twice as the Tahs ran in eight tries at Eric Tweedale Stadium in Sydney.
The win ensured the second-placed Tahs can't fall below that spot while Queensland will finish third.
The bonus-point victory lifted the second-placed Waratahs level with ladder-leading Fijiana Drua, who ended their unbeaten record last week.
NSW started Saturday five points behind Fijiana Drua, who also had a 54-point advantage in points differential.
Leading 27-0 at halftime, the Tahs had an outside chance of overtaking Fijiana on points differential, but fell short and missed five conversions,
They needed Fijiana to lose their final match later on Saturday and not pick up a bonus point to have a chance of finishing first.
The Tahs' relentless defensive pressure and greater efficiency and execution in possession proved way too much for the Reds.
"For us it was just about doing the basics right and executing," NSW No.8 and captain Grace Hamilton told Stan.
"I think last week against Fiji we just didn't play our game.
"Today we just wanted to lay the platform down and then we knew the points would come."
It took the Tahs just five minutes to cross the Reds line as centre Georgie Friedrichs dummied her way over.
Delaware carried the ball over after a big drive by the Tahs forwards and the Reds line was breached again when halfback Iliseva Batibasaga spun over from close range, after five-eighth Arabella McKenzie was stopped just short of the stripe.
Unlike NSW, Queensland struggled to hold the ball for multiple phases and their errors were compounded by poor discipline late in the half.
The Tahs added two tries just before the break with Delamere racing away for her second try following a McKenzie break and lock Sera Naiqama crossing after the halftime bell following a series of penalties to the home team.
The Tahs continued their rampage with Impressive flanker Piper Duck fending off a defender and racing across the line in the 49th minute.
It took 20 minutes for NSW to score again, with Vella sliding over after taking a cutout pass from the influential McKenzie.
Speedster Vella sprinted over for her second five-pointer after good lead-up work from McKenzie and Bird.
"A tough day at the office, the Tahs put us away from the start and we were really slow to get into the game ... disappointing from our girls," Reds' captain and flanker Shannon Parry said.
"There was a rough transition getting here with flight issues and stuff like that, but that's no excuse.
"We came here to play and we just didn't turn up."