Super Rugby Finals

Wed, 03 Aug 2016 14:41
Large super rugby trophy 2016 800

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: This year, the 22nd year of Super Rugby in the professional era, there is the possibility of a new winner.

The Lions (then still Transvaal) won a Super Rugby title in 1993, when they beat Auckland in the Super 10 Final.

The Hurricanes will play in their third Final, having lost to the Crusaders in 2006 and the Highlanders last year.

They are looking for their first Super Rugby crown.

We give some details of Super rugby finals with a little bit about their forerunners.

In the beginning there were six. In 1986 New Zealand started the AGC South Pacific Championship. It started quietly, as most things do in the rugby's conservative world. The competition was dominated by Auckland.

Super Six Winners

1986: Auckland
1987: Auckland and Canterbury
1988: Auckland
1989: Auckland
1990: Auckland
1991: No competition
1992: Queensland

South Africa was back in international rugby in 1992 and the Super 6 became the Super 10 in 1993. The ten teams in 1993 were Western Samoa, Queensland, Otago, Auckland and Natal in Pool A, and Waikato, North Harbour, Transvaal, Northern Transvaal and New South Wales in Pool B. In the final Transvaal beat Auckland 20-17 at Ellis Park.

Apart from Western Samoa the teams taking part were provincial teams, determined in the case of New Zealand and South Africa by standings in the provincial championship

In 1994 Eastern Province replaced Northern Transvaal. This time Queensland won, beating Natal in the final. Natal got there with four free points when New South Wales decided Durban was too dangerous a place and refused to travel there, shades of Wales and Scotland in 1973 when they refused to go to Ireland.

Queensland won again in 1995 when they thrashed Transvaal.

Super 10 Winners

1993: Transvaal
1994: Queensland
1995: Queensland

Super 10 Finals

1993: Transvaal vs Auckland, 20-17 at Ellis Park on 22 May 1993

Scorers:

For Transvaal:
Tries: Schmidt 2, Pienaar
Con: Van Rensburg
Pen: Van Rensburg

For Auckland:
Tries: Tuigamala, Stensness
Cons: Fox 2
Pen: Fox

Teams

Transvaal: Theo Pienaar, Pieter Hendriks, Bernard Fourie, Japie Mulder, Chris Dirks, Hennie le Roux, Johan Roux, Deon Lötter, Ian Macdonald, François Pienaar, Hannes Strydom, Kobus Wiese, Johan le Roux, Uli Schmidt, Balie Swart

Auckland: Shane Howarth, Terry Wright, Eroni Clarke, Lee Stensness, Va'aiga Tuigamala, Grant Fox, Nu Nu'uali'itia, Michael Jones, Mark Carter, Brendan Jackson, replaced by Zinzan Brooke, Richard Fromont, Robin Brooke, Olo Brown, Sean Fitzpatrick, Craig Dowd

Referee: Freek Burger

1994: Queensland beat Natal 21-10 at King's Park on 14 May 1994

Scorers:

For Queensland:
Tries: Lea, Scott-Young
Con: Lynagh
Pens: Lynagh 2
Drop: Lynagh

For Natal:
Try: Van der Westhuizen
Con: Joubert
Pen: Joubert

Teams:

Natal: André Joubert, Cabous van der Westhuizen, Pieter Müller, replaced by Andy Marinos, Jeremy Thomson, replaced by Shaun Payne, James Small, Henry Honiball, Robert du Preez, Gary Teichmann, Andrew Blakeway, Wahl Bartmann (captain), Steve Atherton, John Slade, Adrian Garvey, John Allan, Guy Kebble

Queensland: Matthew Pini, Damian Smith, Jason Little, replaced by Paul Carozza, Tim Horan, replaced by Anthony Herbert, Barry Lea, Michael Lynagh, Peter Slattery (captain), Sam Scott-Young, Ilie Tabua, replaced by John Eales, David Wilson, Rod McCall, Garrick Morgan, Adrian Skeggs, Michael Foley, Cameron Lillicrap

Referee: Glen Wahlstrom

1995: Queensland vs Transvaal, 30-16 at Ellis Park

Scorers:

For Queensland:
Tries: Connors, Little, Johnstone, Smith
Cons: Eales 2
Pen: Eales
Drop: Kahl

For Transvaal:
Try: Roux
Con: De Beer
Drops: De Beer 3

Teams:

Transvaal: Gavin Johnson, Jannie van der Walt, Christiaan Scholtz, replaced by Japie Mulder, Hennie le Roux, Pieter Hendriks, Jannie de Beer, Johan Roux, Rudolf Straeuli (captain), Charles Rossouw, Gerhard Combrinck, Hannes Strydom, Kobus Wiese, Ian Hattingh, Chris Rossouw, Balie Swart

 Queensland:  Matthew Pini, Damian Smith, Daniel Herbert, Jason Little, Paul Carozza, Paul Kahl, Peter Slattery (captain), replaced by Brett Johnstone, Troy Coker, replaced by Mark Connors, Ilie Tabua, David Wilson, John Eales, Rod McCall, Dan Crowley, replaced by Matt Ryan, Michael Foley, Andrew Blades

Referee: Paddy O'Brien

Super 12 & SANZAR and MONEY

The Super 12 was more than a change in numbers. Now there was a body, called SANZAR, made up of the three unions South Africa, New Zealand and Australia and an R for rugby. It would become more and more powerful in rugby, even though it had no authority over its constituent bodies. It organised the Super 12 - five teams from New Zealand, four from South Africa and three from Australia. The 1996 Super 12 was rugby's first professional competition.

New Zealand quickly went for regional teams and Australia's third province, Canberra, became an interprovincial body, for it recruited from beyond its borders, shopping mostly in Sydney. Eventually South Africa also went in for regional teams, but the competition remained dominated by New Zealand teams. There were no pools in this system which meant a great deal of travelling for the teams. This was especially hard on South African teams who set off for a six-week tour of Australia and New Zealand.

The competition received enormous coverage and was accompanied by much glitter and razzmatazz.

The teams in the first Super 12 were Natal, Western Province, Waikato, Canterbury, Otago, Queensland, ACT, Transvaal, Wellington, Northern Transvaal, New South Wales and Auckland.

Later the teams would acquire different names and their gear changed regularly, a long way from rugby's normal conservatism. In fact the Super 12 was not for the conservative.

In 1999 the teams in the Super 12 were the Sharks, Northern Bulls, Western Stormers, Cats, Auckland Blues, Wellington Hurricanes, Canterbury Crusaders, Otago Highlanders, ACT Brumbies, Queensland Reds and NSW Waratahs.

The teams have since become single-named.

 Super 12 winners

1996: Auckland
1997: Auckland Blues
1998: Canterbury Crusaders
1999: Canterbury Crusaders
2000: Crusaders
2001: Brumbies
2002: Crusaders
2003: Blues
2004: Brumbies
2005: Crusaders

Super 12 Finals:

1996: Auckland vs Natal, 45-21 at Eden Park on 25 May

Natal had a great win over Queensland in Brisbane and flew over to Auckland with high hopes. Jonah Lomu soon brought them bumping down to earth, and in no time Auckland were ahead 20-3. Back came Natal to 20-16 but Auckland then made the game safe.

Scorers:

For Auckland:
Tries: Blowers 2, Lomu, Spencer, Clarke, Riechelmann
Cons: Cashmore 3
Pens: Cashmore 3

For Natal:
Tries: Joubert, Small
Con: Honiball
Pens: Honiball 3

Teams:

Auckland: Adrian Cashmore, Jonah Lomu, Johnny Ngauamo, Eroni Clarke, Joeli Vidiri, Carlos Spencer, Ofisa Tonu'u, Zinzan Brooke (captain), Michael Jones, Andrew Blowers, Charles Reichelmann, Robin Brooke, Craig Dowd, Sean Fitzpatrick, Olo Brown.

Natal: Andre Joubert, James Small, Jeremy Thomson, Dick Muir, Cabous van der Westhuizen, Henry Honiball, Kevin Putt, Gary Teichmann (captain),Wayne Fyvie, Wickus van Heerden, Stephen Atherton, Mark Andrews, Ollie le Roux, John Allan, Adrian Garvey

Referee: Wayne Erickson (Australia)

1997: Auckland Blues vs ACT Brumbies, 23-7 at Eden Park on 31 May 1997

The rains came down and the Brumbies forwards stood up to the powerful Auckland pack which had only one player who was not an All Black. The scoreline looks comfortable for Auckland, the favourites, who deserved to win, but in the end it was only by two tries to one and Michael Jones's had intercepted to score one of them.

Scorers

For Auckland Blues:
Tries: Dowd, Michael Jones
Cons: Cashmore 2
Pens: Cashmore 3

For ACT Brumbies:
Try: Roff
Con: Roff

Teams:

Auckland Blues: Adrian Cashmore, Brian Lima, Eroni Clarke, Lee Stensness, Joeli Vidiri, Carlos Spencer, Ofisa Tonu'u, Zinzan Brooke (captain), Michael Jones, Mark Carter, Robin Brooke, Leo Lafaiali'i, Craig Dowd, Sean Fitzpatrick, Olo Brown.

ACT Brumbies: Stephen Larkham, Mitch Hardy, James Holbeck, Pat Howard, Joe Roff, David Knox, George Gregan, Troy Coker, Brett Robinson (captain), Owen Finegan, John Langford, David Giffin, Patricio Noriega, Marco Caputo, Ewen McKenzie .

Referee: Tappe Henning (South Africa)

1998: Canterbury Crusaders vs Auckland Blues, 20-13 at Eden Park on 30 May 1998

The rise of the Crusaders was remarkable. After four matches Canterbury were last on the table. They scraped past Natal at home (four tries for, five against). Auckland had ended the pre-knock-out rounds top and so had a home final.
 
At half-time the score was 3-0 to Canterbury. In the second half the Blues got ahead 10-3, but Canterbury came back to level the scores. Five minutes from the end the score was 3-all. Andrew Mehrtens chipped, the ball eluded two Auckland defenders and James Kerr flopped onto it for a strange try.

Scorers

For Canterbury Crusaders:
Tries: Maxwell, Kerr
Cons: Mehrtens 2
Pens: Mehrtens 2

For Auckland Blues:
Try: Christian
Con: Cashmore
Pen: Cashmore
Drop: Cashmore

Teams:

Canterbury Crusaders: Daryl Gibson, James Kerr, Tabai Matson (Tony Marsh), Mark Mayerhofler (Blair Feeney), Norm Barryman (Daryl Lilley), Andrew Mehrtens, Aaron Flynn, Steve Surridge, Scott Robertson (Angus Gardiner), Todd Blackadder (captain), Reuben Thorne, Norm Maxwell, Stu Loe, Mark Hammett, Kevin Nepia (Greg Feek)

Auckland Blues: Adrian Cashmore, Joeli Vidiri, Eroni Clarke, Lee Stensness,Caleb Ralph, Carlos Spencer, Ofisa Tonu'u, Xavier Rush, Mark Carter, Michael Jones (captain), Robin Brooke, Royce Willis, Olo Brown James Christian, Craig Dowd

Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)

1999: Canterbury Crusaders vs Otago Highlanders, 24-19 at Carisbrook on 20 May 1999

For the third year in succession both finalists were New Zealand teams. For the second year in a row Canterbury Crusaders played away from home and won and for the second year in a row the favourites lost. This year the final was an all-South Island affair.

Canterbury Crusaders only just made it to the semi-final and then won well against Queensland in Brisbane while Otago Highlanders thrashed the Stormers in Cape Town to get into the final.

It was the best Super 12 Final to date and in the end the issue was decided by the boot of Andrew Mehrtens. The Highlanders led 14-9 at half-time after Brian Lima had started a counterattack and finished it off a short pass from Byron Kelleher. The Crusaders went ahead in the second half with two excellent tries, first when Daryl Gibson took a short pass from Mehrtens to score and then a brilliant effort by Afato So'oalo who beat Lima and then won a chip-and-chase to score. This made the score 21-14. Mehrtens added a drop and when Isitolo Maka scored three minutes from the end the match was, to all intents and purposes, won.

Scorers

For Canterbury Crusaders:
Tries: Gibson, So'oalo
Con: Mehrtens
Drop: Mehrtens
Pens: Mehrtens 3

For Otago Highlanders:
Tries: Lima, Maka;
Drop: Laney
Pens: Brown 2

Teams:

Canterbury Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Caleb Ralph, Daryl Gibson, Norm Berryman ,Afato So'oalo, Andrew Mehrtens, Justin Marshall, Steve Surridge, Reuben Thorne, Angus Gardiner, Norm Maxwell, Todd Blackadder (captain), Greg Feek, Mark Hammett, Greg Somerville

Otago Highlanders: Jeff Wilson, Brendan Laney, Pita Alatini, Romi Ropati,, Brian Lima, Tony Brown, Byron Kelleher, Isitolo Maka, Taine Randell (captain), Josh Kronfeld, Brendon Timmins, John Blaikie, Kees Meeuws, Anton Oliver, Carl Hoeft.

Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2000: Crusaders vs Brumbies, 20-19 at Bruce Stadium, 27 May 2000

The Brumbies had ended top of the table with the Crusaders second. That meant a Canberra final after they had each demolished the hopes of their opponents in the semi-finals.

Bruce Stadium was freezing for this night final. Andrew Mehrtens matched the weather with his icy nerve. Where Stirling Mortlock missed four out of nine, Mehrtens goaled five out of six, including the match-winning penalty at the dying of the match.

Scorers

For Crusaders:
Try: Cribb
Pens: Mehrtens 5

For Brumbies:
Try: Smith
Con: Mortlock
Pens: Mortlock 4

Teams:

Brumbies: Andrew Walker, Joe Roff, Rod Kafer, Stirling Mortlock, Mark Bartholomeusz, Stephen Larkham, George Gregan, Jim Williams, Ipolito Fenukitau, Brett Robinson (captain), Justin Harrison, David Giffin, Patricio Noriega, Jeremy Paul, Bill Young.

Canterbury Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Caleb Ralph, Daryl Gibson, Mark Robinson, Marika Vunibaka, Andrew Mehrtens, Ben Hurst, Ron Cribb, Reuben Thorne, Scott Robertson 5 Norm Maxwell, Todd Blackadder (captain), Greg Feek, Mark Hammett, Greg Somerville

Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2001: Brumbies vs Sharks, 30-6 at Bruce Stadium on 19 May 2001

The Brumbies were top, the Sharks second. So the final was in Canberra.

This was the first time a non-New Zealand team had won the Super 12, the first time no New Zealand team had made the semi-final.

The Sharks had beaten the Brumbies in the home matches but were well beaten in the second half of the final. After missing six kicks at goal in the first half, the Sharks were still level at 6-all at half-time. The Brumbies galloped away with the second half.

Scorers

For Brumbies:
Tries: Roff 2, Giffin
Cons: Walker 3
Pens: Walker 5

For Sharks:
Pens: James 2

Teams:

Brumbies: Andrew Walker, Joe Roff, James Holbeck, Rod Kafer, Graeme Bond, Steve Larkham, George Gregan (captain), Jim Williams, George Smith, Peter Ryan, Justin Harrison, David Giffin, Ben Darwin, Jeremy Paul, Bill Young

Sharks: Ricardo Loubscher, Justin Swart, Trevor Halstead, Deon Kayser, Stefan Terblanche, Butch James, Craig Davidson, AJ Venter, Charl van Rensburg, Warren Britz, Albert van den Berg, Mark Andrews (captain), Ollie le Roux, John Smit, Etienne Fynn.

Referee: Paddy O'Brien (New Zealand)

2002: Crusaders vs Brumbies, 31-13 at Jade Stadium, 25 May 2002

It was the perfect Super 12 for the Crusaders. They played 13 and won 13. They scored 30 points or more in every one of the 13 matches. They were by some way the best side in the 2002 Super 12. In the last round of the league they played the second-placed Waratahs and beat them 96-19

The margin of victory in the final is a big one but with seven minutes to play they led just 14-13, but then Caleb Ralph scored two tries in three minutes.

Scorers

For Crusaders:
Tries: Ralph 2, Vunibaka
Cons: Mehrtens 2
Drop: Mehrtens
Pens: Mehrtens 3

For Brumbies:
Try: Walker
Con: Walker
Pens: Walker 2

Teams:

Brumbies: Mark Bartholomeusz, Graeme Bond, Stirling Mortlock, Pat Howard, Andrew Walker, Stephen Larkham, George Gregan, Scott Fava, George Smith, Owen Finegan, Justin Harrison, Daniel Vickerman, Ben Darwin, Jeremy Paul, Bill Young.

Canterbury Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Marika Vunibaka, Mark Robinson, Aaron Mauger, Caleb Ralph, Andrew Mehrtens, Justin Marshall, Scott Robertson, Richie McCaw, Reuben Thorne (captain), Norm Maxwell, Chris Jack, Greg Feek, Mark Hammett, Greg Somerville

Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2003: Blues vs Crusaders, 21-17 at Eden Park, 24 May 2003

The Crusaders did not win! That seems astonishing given their magnificent record in Super 12 finals, but for the second year in a row they did not hoist the trophy in triumph.

Missing from most of the Crusaders' campaign was veteran points' machine Andrew Mehrtens. He was largely displaced by young Daniel Carter.

In the end kicking counted. The Crusaders, who led 10-6 at half-time, scored three tries to two but lost to Carlos Spencer's boot. Mehrtens came on as a replacement for Marika Vunibaka just before half-time but managed only a single conversion,

Scorers

For Blues:
Tries: Howlett, Braid
Con: Spencer
Pens: Spencer 3

For Crusaders:
Tries: Hammett 2, Ralph
Con: Mehrtens

Teams:

Blues: Doug Howlett, Rico Gear, Mils Muliaina, Sam Tuitupou, Joe Rokocoko, Carlos Spencer, David Gibson, Xavier Rush (captain), Daniel Braid, Justin Collins, Ali Williams, Angus MacDonald, Kees Meeuws, Keven Mealamu, Deacon Manu.
Replacements: Derren Witcombe, Tony Woodcock, Bradley Mika , Mose Tuiali'i, Craig McGrath, Orene Ai'i, Lee Stensness.

Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Marika Vunibaka, Caleb Ralph, Daniel Carter, Joe Maddock, Aaron Mauger, Justin Marshall, Scott Robertson, Richard McCaw, Reuben Thorne (captain), Chris Jack, Brad Thorn, Greg Somerville, Mark Hammett, David Hewett.
Replacements: Slade McFarland, Greg Feek, Sam Broomhall, Johnny Leo'o, Ben Hurst. Andrew Mehrtens, Scott Hamilton

Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2004: Brumbies vs Crusdares, 47-38 at Canberra Stadium, 22 May 2004

It was a brilliant final with 13 tries. The number of tries says it all. Numerous match, team and individual records were broken.

After just 18 minutes the Brumbies led an incredible 33-0 after scoring five brilliant tries. By half-time it was 33-14, and even though the proud Crusaders fought back they could not overall the energetic Brumbies.

Scorers

For Brumbies:
Tries: Joe Roff 2, Mark Gerrard 3, Matt Giteau, Jeremy Paul
Cons: Joe Roff 6

For Crusaders:
Tries: Aaron Mauger, Daniel Carter, Richie McCaw, Brad Thorn, Chris King, Casey Laulala
Cons: Daniel Carter 4

Teams:

Brumbies: Joe Roff, Mark Gerrard, Joel Wilson, Matt Giteau, Clyde Rathbone, Stephen Larkham, George Gregan, Scott Fava, George Smith, Owen Finegan (captain), Radike Samo, Mark Chisholm, 3 Nic Henderson, Jeremy Paul, Bill Young
Replacements: David Palavi, Guy Shepherdson, David Giffin, Jone Tawake, Matt Henjak, Lenny Beckett, Mark Bartholomeusz

Crusaders: Ben Blair, Marika Vunibaka, Aaron Mauger, Daniel Carter, Marika Vunibaka, Cameron McIntyre, Justin Marshall, Sam Broomhall, Reuben Thorne (captain), Richie McCaw, Brad Thorn, Chris Jack, 3 Greg Somerville, Tone Kopelani, David Hewett.
Replacements: Corey Flynn, Chris King, Ross Filipo, Johnny Leo'o, Andrew Mehrtens, Jamie Nutbrown, Casey Laulala.

Referee: André Watson (South Africa)

2005: Crusaders vs Waratahs, 35-25 at Jade Stadium

The laughing Crusaders were simply at their best, running free, supporting one another and scoring tries. At half-time they led only 14-6 but that soon grew to 35-6 before three late tries made the willing Waratahs look more competitive.

It was the 690th and last Super 12 match of all time as SANZAR expanded the competition to the Super 14.

Not only did the Crusaders win the last ever Super 12 tournament, but they have won as many titles in the past 10 years (five) as all other 11 teams put together. The other five titles went to the Blues (three) and the Brumbies (two).

Scorers

For Crusaders:
Tries: Hamilton, MacDonald, Hewett, Ralph
Cons: Carter 3
Pens: Carter 2
Drop: Mauger

For Waratahs:
Tries: Rogers 2, Waugh
Cons: Hewat, Rogers
Pens: Hewat 2

Teams:

Crusaders: Leon MacDonald, Rico Gear, Caleb Ralph, Aaron Mauger, Scott Hamilton, Daniel Carter, Justin Marshall, Mose Tuiali'i, Richie McCaw (captain), Reuben Thorne, Ross Filipo, Chris Jack, Greg Somerville, Corey Flynn, Dave Hewett.
Replacements: Tone Kopelani, Campbell Johnstone, Sam Broomhall, Johnny Leo'o, Jamie Nutbrown, Andrew Mehrtens, Casey Laulala.

Waratahs: Mat Rogers, Peter Hewat, Morgan Turinui, Nathan Grey, Lote Tuqiri, Lachlan MacKay, Chris Whitaker (captain), David Lyons, Phil Waugh, Rocky Elsom, Daniel Vickerman, Justin Harrison, Alastair Baxter, Brendan Cannon, Matt Dunning.
Replacements: Adam Freier, Gareth Hardy, Alex Kanaar, Stephen Hoiles, Chris O'Young, Shaun Berne, Cameron Shepherd.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

Super 14 Winners

2006: Crusaders
2007: Bulls    
2008: Crusaders
2009: Bulls
2010: Bulls

2006: Crusaders vs Hurricanes, 19-12 at Jade Stadium, 27 May 2006

It was an historic final - the first Super 14 final. It was also an eerie final as a fog settled over Jade Stadium jyust before the stafrt of the match. Spooky players flitted in and out of partial view and at the m,ost the crowd noise rose to a murmur.

The fog was about all that made the match memorable. There was just one try. From a scrum five metres from the Hurricanes' line, Kevin Senio gave immediately to Dan Carter. Casey Laulala cut back onto Carter's inside and took the switched pass. He was running straight, got past sprawling Piri Weepu and was over near the posts in Chris Masoe's tackle. Carter converted.

Scorers

For the Crusaders:
Try: Laulala
Con: Carter
Pens: Carter 4

For the Hurricanes:
Pens: Weepu, Holwell, Gopperth 2

Teams:

Crusaders: 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Rico Gear, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Aaron Mauger, 11 Scott Hamilton, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Kevin Senio, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Richard McCaw (captain), 6 Reuben Thorne, 5 Ross Filipo, 4 Chris Jack, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Tone Kopelani, 17 Campbell Johnstone, 18 Johnny Leo'o, 19 Tanerau Latimer, 20 Stephen Brett, 21 Cameron McIntyre, 22 Caleb Ralph

Hurricanes: 15 Isaia Toeava, 14 Lome Fa'atau, 13 Ma'a Nonu, 12 Tana Umaga, 11 Shannon Paku, 10 David Holwell, 9 Piri Weepu, 8 Rodney So'oialo (captain), 7 Chris Masoe, 6 Jerry Collins, 5 Jason Eaton, 4 Paul Tito, 3 Neemia Tialata, 2 Andrew Hore, 1 John Schwalger.
Replacements: 16 Luke Mahoney, 17 Joe McDonnell, 18 Luke Andrews, 19 Thomas Waldrom, 20 Brendan Haami, 21 Jimmy Gopperth, 22 Tamati Ellison

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan (South Africa)

2007: Bulls vs Sharks, 20-19 at Absa Stadium

History was made. There were two South African teams in the Final.

The finish to the match was agonising. The Sharks led for 82 minutes but in the 83rd minute, Bryan Habana. shoulders hunched, went swerving, speeding, inside Bob Skinstad and past Beat Mtawarira to dive over for the try that put his team within a point of victory. Derick Hougaard kicked the easy conversion and at last the final whistle sounded.

That winning try took two minutes to make. The Sharks led 18-13 after a try by Albert van den Berg but the Bulls threw everything at them. Victor Matfield of the Bulls started a counterattack deep in Bulls territory.

Scorers:

For the Sharks:
Tries: Pietersen, Van den Berg
Pens: Montgomery 3

For the Bulls:
Tries: Spies, Habana
Cons: Hougaard 2
Pens: Hougaard 2

Teams:

Sharks: 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Francois Steyn, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Butch James, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 AJ Venter, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Johan Ackermann, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit (captain), 1 Deon Carstens
Replacements: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Albert van den Berg, 19 Warren Britz, 20 Bob Skinstad, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Adrian Jacobs

Bulls: 15 Johan Roets, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Wikus van Heerden, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Jaco Engels, 17 Danie Thiart, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Derick Kuün, 20 Heinie Adams, 21 Morné Steyn, 22 Jaco van der Westhuyzen

Referee: Steve Walsh (New Zealand)

2008: Crusaders vs Waratahs, 20-12 at AMI Stadium in Christchurch

The Waratahs led 12-11 at half-time but did not score a point in the second half, unable to cash in on Brad Thorn's sojourn in the sin bin for punching, an act that led to the cancellation of a Crusader try.

Scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: Tuiali'i
Pens: Carter 4
Drop: Carter

For Waratahs:
Tries: Turner 2

Teams

Crusaders: 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Kade Poki, 13 Casey Laulala, 12 Tim Bateman, 11 Scott Hamilton, 10 Daniel Carter, 9 Andrew Ellis, 8 Mose Tuiali'i, 7 Richard McCaw (c), 6 Kieran Read, 5 Ali Williams, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Greg Somerville, 2 Ti'i Paulo, 1 Wyatt Crockett
Replacements: 16 Steve Fualau, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Reuben Thorne, 19 Nasi Manu, 20 Kahn Fotuali'i, 21 Stephen Brett, 22 Sean Maitland

Waratahs: 15 Sam Norton-Knight, 14 Lachlan Turner, 13 Rob Horne, 12 Tom Carter, 11 Lote Tuqiri, 10 Kurtley Beale, 9 Luke Burgess, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Phil Waugh (c), 6 Rocky Elsom, 5 Dan Vickerman, 4 Dean Mumm, 3 Al Baxter, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson
Replacements: 16 Adam Freier, 17 Matt Dunning, 18 Will Caldwell, 19 Beau Robinson, 20 Brett Sheehan, 21 Matt Carraro, 22 Timana Tahu
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)

2009: Bulls vs Chiefs, 61-17

The Bulls' score is by some way the biggest score in a Super Rugby Final. It is the biggest winning margin in Super Rugby.

The Chiefs started well when they counterattacked and Lelia Masaga opened the scoring with a try. But soon afterwards Fourie du Preez scored two tries and the Chiefs were on their way to a hiding.

Scorers:

For Bulls:
Tries: Du Preez 2, Habana 2, Matfield, Olivier, Spies, Rossouw
Con: Steyn 5, Francis
Pen: Steyn 2
Drop: Steyn

For Chiefs:
Tries: Masaga, Muliaina
Con: Donald 2
Pen: Donald

Teams

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (c), 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Derick Kuün, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Chiliboy Ralepelle, 17 Rayno Gerber, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Pedrie Wannenburg, 20 Heini Adams, 21 Burton Francis, 22 Marius Delport.

Chiefs: 15 Mils Muliaina (c), 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Richard Kahui, 12 Callum Bruce, 11 Dwayne Sweeney, 10 Stephen Donald, 9 Toby Morland, 8 Sione Lauaki, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Kevin O'Neill, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 James McGougan, 2 Aled de Malmanche, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Joe Savage, 18 Toby Lynn, 19 Serge Lilo, 20 David Bason, 21 Mike Delany, 22 Sosene Anesi.

Referee: Jonathan Kaplan

2010: Bulls vs Stormers, 25-17

There was histoiry in this - the last Super 14 match, the first Super match played in Soweto, a high successful ventre by the Blue Bulls whose home match it was.

Dignitaries were there - the President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, who was due to leave but delayed his departure. "I could not lose this important moment of history-making in our country." The Leader of the Opposition, Helen Zille was there. As she is also the premier of the Western Cape she had no hesitation in declaring her support for the Stormers. "I have never been so excited since the last election."

The Stormers may have scored two tries to one but the Bulls were really full value for their victory - dominating possession and territory as they used muscle and cohesion to dominate the Stormers.

Scorers:

For the Bulls:
Try: Hougaard
Con: Steyn
Pens: Steyn 6

For the Stormers:
Tries: Habana, Pieter Louw
Cons: Grant 2
Pen: Grant

Teams:

Bulls: 15 Zane Kirchner, 14 Gerhard van den Heever, 13 Jaco Pretorius, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 François Hougaard, 10 Morné Steyn, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Dewald Potgieter, 6 Deon Stegmann, 5 Victor Matfield (captain), 4 Danie Rossouw, 3 Werner Kruger, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gürthro Steenkamp.
Replacements: 16 Bandise Maku, 17 Bees Roux, 18 Flip van der Merwe, 19 Derick Kuün, 20 Jacques-Louis Potgieter, 21 Jaco van der Westhuyzen, 22 Pedrie Wannenburg.

Stormers: 15 Joe Pietersen, 14 Gio Aplon, 13 Jaque Fourie, 12 Juan de Jongh, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Peter Grant, 9 Dewaldt Duvenage, 8 Duane Vermeulen, 7 Francois Louw, 6 Schalk Burger (captain), 5 Andries Bekker, 4 Adriaan Fondse, 3 Brok Harris, 2 Tiaan Liebenberg, 1 Wicus Blaauw.
Replacements: 16 Deon Fourie, 17 JC Kritzinger, 18 Anton van Zyl, 19 Pieter Louw, 20 Ricky Januarie, 21 Willem de Waal, 22 Tim Whitehead.

Referee: Craig Joubert

2011: Reds vs Crusaders, 18-13

There was a new format this year with the 15 teams divided into three national conferences. Each country's set of five teams played each other twice in the season in which the round robin consisted of 16 matches for each of the 15 teams. The winner of each conference headed for the play-offs.

At the end of the 'regular season' teams positioned third to sixth played off for a place in the semifinals. The Crusaders topped the New Zealand conference. They played the Sharks in Nelson in a play-off match, the Stormers at Newlands in a semifinal and then the Reds in Brisbane in the Final.

Scorers:

For the Reds:
Try: Ioane, Genia
Con: Cooper
Pens: Cooper 2

For the Crusaders:
Try: Carter
Con: Carter
Pens: Carter 2

Teams:

Reds: 15 Jono Lance, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Anthony Faingaa, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (captain), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Faingaa, 1 Ben Daley.
Replacements: 16 James Hanson, 17 Guy Shepherdson, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jake Schatz, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Will Chambers.

Crusaders: 15 Tom Marshall, 14 Sean Maitland, 13 Robbie Fruean, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Zac Guildford, 10 Dan Carter, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Richie McCaw (captain), 6 George Whitelock, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Brad Thorn, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Quentin MacDonald, 17 Ben Franks, 18 Luke Romano, 19 Matt Todd, 20 Kahn Fotuali'i, 21 Matt Berquist, 22 Ryan Crotty.

Referee: Bryce Lawrence (New Zealand)

2012: Chiefs vs Sharks, 37-6

The Sharks just pipped the Brumbies for a place in the Super Rugby play-offs. They were sixth on the log and so had to travel. They went Durban-Brisbane, Brisbane Durban, Durban-Cape Twon, Johannesburg-Sydney-Auckland and then on to Hamilton to play the Chiefs at Waikato Satdium. The Sharks beat the reigning champions, the Reds, in Brisbane and then beat the Stormers at Newlands in a semifinal and then went back to Australasia to face the Cheiefs and their crowd of 25 100 noisy supporters. The Stormers and the Chiefs, first and second on the log, had joined in the knock-out only for the semfinal. The Chiefs had thus played a match fewer than the Sharks and that at home.

Scorers:

For the Chiefs:
Tries: Nanai-Williams, Thompson, Masaga, Williams
Cons: Cruden 4
Pens: Cruden 3

For the Sharks
Pens: Michalak 3

Teams

Chiefs: 15 Robbie Robinson, 14 Tim Nanai-Williams, 13 Andrew Horrell, 12 Sonny Bill Williams, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Kane Thompson, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Mahonri Schwalger, 1 Sona Taumalolo.
Replacements: 16 Hika Elliot, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Brendon Leonard, 21 Jackson Willison, 22 Lelia Masaga.

Sharks: 15 Patrick Lambie, 14 Louis Ludik, 13 JP Pietersen, 12 Paul Jordaan, 11 Lwazi Mvovo, 10 Frédéric Michalak, 9 Charl McLeod, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 Marcell Coetzee, 6 Keegan Daniel (captain), 5 Anton Bresler, 4 Willem Alberts, 3 Jannie du Plessis, 2 Bismarck du Plessis, 1 Tendai Mtawarira.
Replacements: 16 Craig Burden, 17 Wiehahn Herbst, 18 Steven Sykes, 19 Jacques Botes, 20 Jean Deysel, 21 Meyer Bosman, 22 Riaan Viljoen.

Referee: Steve Walsh Australia

2013: Chiefs vs Brumbies, 27-22

It was a thriller, the Final at Waikato Stadium. The Brumbies led 16-9 at half-time and 22-12 with 20 minutes to go but a try by Liam Messam enhanced the home side's cause and then, with under 10 minutes to play Robbie Robinson scooted through for the try which gave his side the lead for the first time in the match.

The victory meant that the Chiefs had retained their Super Rugby crown.

Scorers:

For Chiefs;
Tries: Messam, Robinson
Con: Cruden
Pens: Cruden 5

For Brumbies:
Try: Leali'ifano
Con: Leali'ifano
Pens: Leali'ifano 5

Teams:

Chiefs: 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke (captain), 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Replacements: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Robbie Robinson

Brumbies: 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Leali'ifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (captain), 7 George Smith, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Replacements: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Andrew Smith, 22 Joseph Tomane.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

2014: Waratahs vs Crusaders, 33-32

It was a high-scoring thriller but a boot-produced one. Each side scored two tries but a penalty was worth one point more than a conversion at ANZ Stadium in Sydney before a Super Rugby record crowd of 61 800.

The Waratahs led 14-0 early in the half and then 20-13 at half time but a try by Nemani Nadolo brought the scores level at 20-all. With 17 minutes to play the Crusaders led 26-23 but then Ashley-Cooper scored his second try and the Waratahs were 30-26. A Colin Slade penalty with four minutes to play put the Crusaders 32-30 ahead.

When Richie McCaw was penalised at a tackle near the half-way line with a minute to play, Bernard Foley calmly kicked the winner.

It was the first time the Waratahs had won the Super Rugby title.

Scorers:

For Waratahs:
Tries: Ashley-Cooper 2
Con: Foley
Pens: Foley 7

For Crusaders:
Tries: Todd, Nadolo
Cons: Carter, Slade
Pens: Slade 6

Teams:

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 5 Kane Douglas, 6 Stephen Hoiles, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2Tatafu Polota Nau, 1 Benn Robinson.
Replacements: 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Jeremy Tilse, 18 Paddy Ryan, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Peter Betham

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Samuel Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett.
Replacements: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Johnny McNicholl.

Referee: Craig Joubert (South Africa)

2015: Highlanders vs Hurricanes, 21-14

The Hurricanes were favourites but the rugged Highlanders upset them and won the Super Rugby title for the first time ever. They came fourth on the log but beat the Chiefs in a play-off and then the Waratahs in a semi-final while the Hurricanes brushed the Brumbies aside.

It was probably the best of all Super Rugby Finals for intensity, speed and sheer excitement.

Ma'a Nonu scored first but by half-time the Highlanders were ahead 13-5 and stayed ahead. The Highlanders had three winning attributes - their decisive tackling , winning turnovers and taking the chances on offer.

It was the second time that the Hurricanes had been in a final and the second time they had been beaten. The previous occasion was that foggy match in Christchurch in 2006.

Scorers:

For the Hurricanes:
Try: Nonu
Pens: Barrett 3

For the Highlanders:
Tries: E Dixon, Naholo
Con: Sopoaga
Pens: Sopoaga 2
Drop: Banks

Teams:

Hurricanes: 15 James Marshall, 14 Nehe Milner-Skudder, 13 Conrad Smith (captain), 12 Ma'a Nonu, 11 Julian Savea, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea/Callum Gibbins, 6 Brad Shields, 5 James Broadhurst, 4 Jeremy Thrush, 3 Ben Franks, 2 Dane Coles, 1 Reggie Goodes.
Replacements: 16 Motu Matu'u, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Jeffery Toomaga-Allen, 19 Callum Gibbins/Mark Abbott, 20 Blade Thomson, 21 Chris Smylie, 22 Rey Lee-Lo, 23 Matt Proctor.

Highlanders: 15 Ben Smith (co-captain), 14 Waisake Naholo, 13 Malakai Fekitoa, 12 Richard Buckman, 11 Patrick Osborne, 10 Lima Sopoaga, 9 Aaron Smith, 8 Nasi Manu (co-captain), 7 James Lentjes, 6 Elliot Dixon, 5 Mark Reddish, 4 Alex Ainley, 3 Josh Hohneck, 2 Liam Coltman, 1 Brendon Edmonds.
Replacements: 16 Ash Dixon, 17 Daniel Lienert-Brown, 18 Ross Geldenhuys, 19 Joe Wheeler, 20 Gareth Evans, 21 Shane Christie, 22 Fumiaki Tanaka, 23 Marty Banks.

Referee: Jaco Peyper (South Africa)

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Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 10 0 5 43
Waratahs 15 8 0 7 40
Rebels 15 7 0 8 31
Reds 15 3 1 11 17
Force 15 2 0 13 13
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Hurricanes 15 11 0 4 53
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 52
Chiefs 15 11 0 4 51
Crusaders 15 11 0 4 50
Blues 15 8 1 6 39
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 1 4 51
Bulls 15 9 1 5 42
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Sunwolves 15 1 1 13 9
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 14 11 0 3 52
Sharks 15 9 1 5 43
Jaguares 14 3 0 11 18
Kings 15 2 0 13 9