Super Rugby glory at last for Plumtree
REACTION: After being involved in a number of Super Rugby Finals, Hurricanes assistant coach John Plumtree can finally add a winners’ tankard to his collection of runners-up achievements.
In 2007, Plumtree was assistant coach of the Sharks team that lost 19-20 to the Bulls in 2007 in the Final. In 2012, as head coach, the Durban-based team were beaten by the Chiefs.
In the 2015 Final, in his first year as assistant coach for the Hurricanes under (head coach) Chris Boyd, it was the Highlanders who emerged 21-14 victors over the Wellington outfit.
The Hurricanes' 20-3 win over thr Lions on Saturday finally bucked the trend for the 51-year-old.
"I swore when I missed out in 2007 - Bryan Habana scored a try in the last minute - that I'd never give up chasing this trophy," Plumtree told stuff.co.nz.
"That [Habana try] was in the 83rd minute and I thought I had it. I had to be patient and I've finally got it and it's great.
"There's been a couple of Currie Cups since but to get that Super trophy with Boydy is really special for me because we're big mates."
Plumtree admitted that he did not think they could win the championship this year.
Many saw 2016 as a year for rebuilding for the Hurricanes after losing stalwarts like Conrad Smith, Ma'a Nonu, Jeremy Thrush and Ben Franks.
"Boydy and I thought at the start of the season [that] if we can get to the play-offs with this group, it'll be a good effort," he added.
The Hurricanes were inconsistent in terms of results before the June international window. However, after the four-week break Plumtree said that belief started to creep into the camp after wins against strong opposition
"The wins over the Waratahs and then the Crusaders was the big boost we needed and then we thought 'we can actually win this tournament'," said Plumtree.
"The belief really started to come and Boydy drove that hard within the team and we worked really hard on the field and Colesy [captain Dane Coles] and the leadership group was really, really proactive in making sure that belief stayed there and we were just playing knock-out rugby and it was a hard road to go through to the Final, which was a better road for us."