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The Roar


Super Rugby Women's: Where have the Reds gone, and are the Force the real deal?

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27th March, 2024

Super Rugby W Round 2 asked and answered a few questions, Round 3 will again ask a few more questions and clarify a few answers. At this stage, we think we know where the teams sit but this weekend will likely confirm it.

So what did last week show?

In summary, the Waratahs are in mighty good form, the Western Force are here to play this season, the Rebels have more fight in them than probably expected and, at this point, we are really not sure where the Reds and Fijian Drua are placed.

As expected, the Waratahs appear to be the heavyweights of the competition. This Wallaroos-laden team has strike power all over the park.

After last week’s demolishing of the Fijian Drua in hot and humid Fiji it is hard to imagine which team is going to stop their run to the finals. Touch wood and fingers crossed (as a Tahs supporter), apart from Emily Chancellor’s season-ending ACL injury they have been pretty injury-free. Some of the other teams have not been so lucky.

It was no surprise that there were a lot of Tahs players in Rugby AU’s Round 2 Team of the Week, nine all up. Three are worth particular mention: Atasi Lafai brought some strong carries, pocket rocket Desiree Miller showed she’s developed into a skilled winger, and Skye Churchill, a real workhorse of a flanker, slipped seamlessly into the Tahs pack.

In the ‘things you do not see often’ category, both Chris Whittaker and Darren Coleman had a stint in the coaching box with Mike Ruthven during the women’s game. Maybe trying to pick up a bit of a winning vibe.


Although without a win, a surprise pack has been the Melbourne Rebels. It appears they have just enough experience spread throughout to put up a mighty good fight and they do not throw in the towel. In many ways, they were unlucky to lose 24-22 last weekend against the Brumbies. Looking at the stats the Rebels had the better of many parts of the game. Their scrum was all over the Brumbies, they beat more defenders, and made more clean breaks but they did concede more penalties and turnovers.

Despite this, the Rebels could be in for a tough night against the Waratahs. It will be an odd night for former Tahs captain Grace Hamilton – her first match against her long-time team.

The Western Force have really shown they are here to play. In 2022 they had no wins to this point, in 2023 they have two wins. If they get a win over the Fijian Drua women in Fiji this weekend, that will make it three out of three wins in 2024. The Western Force have invested in their women’s program and recruitment. Guess what they are seeing is results… who would have thought?

To say the Fijian Drua women were just not on against the Waratahs, is probably an understatement. Not unexpectedly in a big 62-21 loss, the stats were ugly: 36 missed tackles, 17 penalties conceded and the Tahs scored ten tries.

Maybe we read too much into the Drua’s win over the Reds the previous week. This week will make it clearer as the Force travel to Fiji to take on the Drua. Throw in the ten-hour flight to get there, add in the weather and some injuries and the Force appear to have a real challenge ahead of them. If the Force win they are the real deal.


Watch every match of Super Rugby Pacific ad-free, live & on demand on the Home of Rugby, Stan Sport

On the flip side, one would have to assume the Drua are pretty embarrassed by their loss to the Tahs and will want to make amends.

This Force v Fijian Drua game is compulsory viewing.

Like the Fijian Drua women, questions remain over where the Queensland Reds are at? Their backline is chock-full of Wallaroos and experience and their forwards are pretty solid. Yet they are two games for two losses. So this weekend against the Brumbies is a make or break for the Reds who are currently at the bottom of the ladder. The Reds do have a couple of injuries in the forwards and USA international Charli Jacoby is on USA duty this weekend. In reality, if their forwards can match the Brumbies they should be able to get the win, especially as it is at Suncorp. However, it should be noted last weekend their lineout and scrum struggled.

The Brumbies will be feeling pretty good after last weekend’s win. They do have some quality players. Unfortunately, their gun half-back Jay Huriwai is out for the season with a knee injury.

Round three, more questions and answers to come.


For free-to-air viewers, a reminder that Reds v Brumbies is also on 9GEM.

Super Rugby Women

Fri, March 29, 2024, 5:05 PM AEDT, Allianz Stadium, Sydney
NSW Waratahs Women vs Melbourne Rebels Women
Broadcast: Stan

Sat, March 30, 2024, 2:35 PM AEDT Churchill Park, Lautoka
Fijian Drua vs Western Force Women
Broadcast: Stan

Sat, March 30, 2024, 5:05 PM AEDT Suncorp Stadium Brisbane
Queensland Reds Women vs ACT Brumbies Women
Broadcast: Stan and 9GEM