NSW Waratahs vs Fijian Drua, Super Rugby Pacific 2023 highlights, scores, result, video

The gritty NSW Waratahs have survived a ferocious Fijian Drua challenge to post their first win of the Super Rugby Pacific season.

The Drua led 17-10 early in the second half and, riding some vocal support in the AAMI Park stands, appeared well placed to pull off a memorable upset.

Stan Sport commentator Morgan Turinui described the Drua’s physicality in the first half as “unseen in Super Rugby.”

Watch the 2023 Super Rugby Pacific season on the home of rugby, Stan Sport. All matches streaming ad free, live and on demand

Swinton smashed by Drua defence

Waratahs enforcer Lachie Swinton in particular copped some enormous hits as the Drua showed they are much more than a razzle dazzle team.

But the Fijians were unable to maintain the rage for the full 80 minutes in Melbourne as the Waratahs carried out the instructions of their forwards coach Pauli Taumoepeau.

Taumoepeau told Stan Sport and Nine at halftime that he was confident NSW had the right game plan and it was just a matter of reducing the error rate.

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Donaldson finishes classy NSW try

Sure enough, the tide turned and the Waratahs ran in second half tries to Ben Donaldson, Langi Gleeson, Tane Edmed, Max Jorgensen and Mark Nawaqanitawase for a 46-17 victory against a tiring Drua side reduced to 13 men at one point.

“Max Jorgensen is going to score innumerable tries throughout a glorious career but none will come easier than that,” Turinui said of the boom teenager’s five pointer.

“He’s been very good in the air which is such an important job for the modern winger.”

Justin Harrison was also impressed with the dirty work of loosehead prop Tom Lambert, who had the big shoes of the injured Angus Bell to fill.

“Doing all the things that don’t show up in a highlight clip,” Harrison said.

“He’s a hero for this forward pack.”

The 1-1 Waratahs will return to AAMI Park for their next match against the 0-2 Rebels on Friday while the 1-1 Drua will host the defending champion Crusaders (1-1) in Lautoka next Saturday.

“I’m really happy, that was a pivotal moment for our season at halftime,” Waratahs coach Darren Coleman said.

“That was brutal, that first half, some of those tackles... we’re not talking about winning the competition at the moment, we’re just happy to get our first win.”

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