With the Super Rugby Final being played on Sunday we selected our top 5 finals
On this side of the planet Super Rugby is a bit of a strange beast. Played in our summer and in a different time zone, we get up bleary eyed in the morning, eat our breakfasts and watch the Southern Hemisphere’s finest battle it out.
As beer and Corn Flakes don’t go well together, Super Rugby often lacks the atmosphere found in a pub during the build up to a big European Cup encounter. However the skill levels on display more than make up for it.
But before we set our alarms, we select our top five Super Rugby Finals.
1998 Crusaders V The Blues
With the half time score standing at 3-0 to the Crusaders, the 1998 final was a war of attrition. Little separated the sides throughout and with two minutes remaining, the scores were level at 13 points apiece. At this juncture Andrew Mehrtens put in what looked like a poor kick behind the Blues defence. However Ofisa Tonu’u was unable to deal with it and in the act of juggling the ball lost it to James Kerr, who touched down for the winning score.
2004 Brumbies V Crusaders
In terms of entertainment, the 2004 final is difficult to top. The Brumbies came out of the dressing room fired up and led by 31 points after 21 minutes. However they received much help from the hapless Ben Blair, who committed three errors that led to as many tries. To their credit, the Crusaders did not let their heads drop and fought back to leave a final score of 47-38 to the Australians.
2007 Sharks V Bulls
The 2007 final was a tight affair and was the first to feature two South African teams. At the end of a first half in which Pierre Spies and JP Pietersen scored tries, the Sharks led 14-10. The second half saw the Sharks put themselves into a commanding 19-13 lead. However with a minute remaining Francois Steyn received a Bulls grubber kick in his twenty two and chose not to kick the ball out but long, and into the hands of Blues captain Victor Matfield. After a number of phases the Bryan Habana stepped inside, what seems like the entire Bulls team, and touched down for the dramatic winning score.
2011 Reds V Crusaders
Despite travelling to Brisbane to take on the Queensland Reds in 2011, the Crusaders began the game as favourites. Although they dominated much of the territory and possession in the early stages, the Crusaders only led 7-6 at the break. With the game deadlocked at thirteen all after 67 minutes, Will Genia provided a moment of magic to turn the game in favour of the Reds.
2014 Waratahs VCrusaders
Last season saw the New South Wales Waratahs win their first title, in what was pulsating game. The final saw the Waratahs take the game to the Crusaders in the early stages and were rewarded with a fourteen point lead after as many minutes. Nevertheless they were reeled in, and as the game entered 78th minute, the Waratahs found themselves two points behind. However in an ironic twist the referee penalised Richie McCaw at the breakdown. Bernard Foley slotted the resultant 45 meter penalty as the Waratahs saw out the remaining seconds.
Alan Drumm, Pundit Arena