Collins factor in Canes' win revealed
REACTION: The Hurricanes revealed that the late Jerry Collins was a big part of the inspiration behind the franchise's defence this year.
The Hurricanes became Super Rugby champions for the first time, following their 20-3 dismantling of the Lions in Wellington on Saturday.
The new Super Rugby champions have not conceded a try in more than 300 minutes on their way to a maiden Super Rugby title.
Having lost in last year's Final, the New Zealand franchises deservedly tasted success this time round - giving the five Kiwi franchises a full-house, with all having won at least one title.
Collins, a staunch Wellingtonian and Hurricane, was one of the toughest defenders in the game and was killed last year in a car accident in France 0- where his partner also died and his daughter was left seriously injured.
"In the background, Jerry was a big motivation," said No.8 Victor Vito, after playing his 100th and final match for the Hurricanes.
"But if we got too lost in trying to do it for Jerry and forget our basic task, which was get up off the line and smack them - then it wouldn't have worked.
"Jerry would have been proud simply because of the systems that we put in place."
Winning captain Dane Coles, who would have got a big tick from Collins after playing in the final despite struggling with a rib injury, said aside from Collins, there were plenty of other former Hurricanes players who were glad to honour with the franchise's maiden title.
"Jerry was a big part of defensive theme this year," Coles said.
"There were also guys like Conrad Smith, Norm Hewett, Jeremy Thrush, Christian Cullen - all those Hurricanes boys have tried to win the trophy but couldn't.
"Just to bring it to the franchise, for the ex-players and for the region, right up to the East Coast and Gisborne, I'm just so proud to be a Hurricane right now.
"Winning Super Rugby is bigger than us, it's bigger than this team.
"There's so many people who deserved it and didn't get it. Just to say the Hurricanes have finally won a championship is just outstanding."