The Fijian Drua have won the 2018 National Rugby Championship after defeating Queensland Country 36 to 26 in the Final at Churchill Park, Lautoka on Saturday afternoon.
In front of a packed crowd of 6523 and in torrential conditions, the Drua scored five tries to Queensland Country’s four ensuring the victory and reward after finishing the season as Minor Premiers.
The match started with Queensland Country shooting out of the blocks, but the first half was a constant battle of swinging momentum as the Drua fought their way back.
It was a physical contest between both packs that would define the match, with torrential rain across the day and during the game ensuring that a slippery ball would be in hands for the backs.
The Drua played a patient match, constantly asking questions of Queensland Country’s defence as they attacked from all over the park.
Despite a late charge from Queensland Country in the second half, Fiji Drua held on to their lead, sending the crowd in raptures when the final whistle blew.
Rugby Australia General Manager High Performance, Ben Whitaker said: “On behalf of Rugby Australia and the Australian Rugby community I would like to congratulate the Fijian Drua on their victory today.
“Over the course of the NRC season, the Drua played enterprising, exciting Rugby that enthralled and entertained fans in Fiji, around Australia and across the world.
“I know many Drua players have been picked for National Squad duties following on from their performances this season and we wish them well in their endeavours.
“We offer our commiserations to Queensland Country who fought hard today. They have a very young, talented squad and it will be exciting to see how these players develop over the coming years.
“Their consistency over the past two seasons in reaching back to back NRC finals will no doubt positively impact the Queensland Reds and Qantas Wallabies over the next few years”.
Fijian Drua 36
Tries: Tuisue 2, Radrodro, Naulago, Veitokani Cons: Waqatabu 4 Pens: Veitokani
Queensland Country 26
Tries: Feauai-Sautia, Petaia, Daugunu, Maafu Cons: Stewart 3