NADROGA remained calm in the face of adversity and reaped the ultimate prize — the prestigious Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy — after 80 minutes of champagne rugby at the ANZ Stadium last night.
In a "fast and furious" affair, the Stallions galloped away with a lucky 27-22 win over Tailevu which was "pushed" to defeat by its own mistakes.
Played in an absolutely enthralling atmosphere, both teams gave the best they had to keep over 10,000 fans that converged at the Laucala bowl warm on a chilly, windy evening.
The "master of all aspects of the game", Nadroga, dominated the fan count but failed to do so on the field as Tailevu tested the champion's ability at the breakdown and made them pay for its indiscipline.
The Tebara Bus Tailevu side took advantage of the unsettled Outrigger on the Lagoon Nadroga in the opening quarter of the match before the latter found its rhythm and steamrolled to a 14-6 lead at the break.
When all looked good for the Westerners, the "green machine" of Tailevu sprung to life and clawed its way back for a slender 22-19 lead midway in the second spell before losing the grip to allow the visitors to steal the game from under their noses.
Nadroga skipper Setefano Samoca said patience won the match for them.
"They were leading so I told the boys to calm down, keep the cool, not to give away any silly penalties, work hard and do the basics right," Samoca said after the match.
"Just to play simple rugby and the scoreboard will look after itself," he added.
"This is a great achievement and we couldn't have done it without the divine power of the Almighty and support of the vanua especially Turaga Na Kalevu, the chief of Nadroga."
Tailevu coach Lance Whippy said "we gave away the game".
"It's really the bounce of the ball, they capitalised on our mistakes and we didn't make the most of the opportunity we had. We just lacked in game management."
The Farebrother-Sullivan Trophy is the second title for Nadroga this year which had earlier scooped the Digicel Cup title.