The curtain of the 2015 Super Rugby season ended with one of the best finals we ever witness with the Highlanders crowed the Champions after beating the highly rated Hurricanes 21-14.
By: Jacques Nortier
Any person not sitting on the edge of their seats during the 80 min of this final have no idea of what this game is all about. If any team needs to want to know how this game is supposed to be played at this level then just watch this final.
The game started and ended with the same insane speed and commitment from both teams as it ended 80 minutes later. The ability from all players on attack and defense was just plain brilliant. In the first half there was only about 4 scrums which tells you a lot on the handling from both teams.
The game was up for grabs up and until the final minute with both teams giving it all.
One need to give a lot of credit to referee Jaco Peyper for the way he allow this to be one of the most exciting and special finals we have seen for a long time. He allowed the players to play there advantage and kept the game flowing throughout the game.
There was not one incident in the match which you can point a finger at the referee, which was a lovely change with all the horrible referee and TMO decisions we had to witness this season.
The second half try by Naholo helped the Highlanders win there maiden Super Rugby title and they were the team of the day and deserve everything after such a performance.
The Hurricanes will have nightmares of the ball that was spilled by Savea over the line which would have change the flow of the game.
Elliot Dixon deserve the man of the match as he was all over the field and his powerful runs put the Highlanders on the front foot for most of the game. His try on the stroke of halftime must have been the moment of the match and gave the Highlanders the space to play in the second half and kept the Hurricanes to chase the game.
The turnaround of the Highlanders is actually an amazing story as they ended 13th in the competition two years back to come and win one of the most exciting championships we have seen for a long time.
This was the first all-New Zealand final since 2006 and maybe a good omen for All Black rugby as 4 of their five teams actually were in the top six after the regular season if one look at the log points gathered during the season.
Both teams can be happy with the season and it was one of those games that you feel sorry that there can only be one winner, but at the end the Hurricanes had to end their brilliant season with looking at the Highlanders lifting the trophy.
This will be a final that will be remembered and one that will not be easily surpassed by any team soon.
Highlanders are the 2015 Super Rugby Champions and deservedly so.
For the Hurricanes:
Pens: Barrett 3
For the Highlanders:
Tries: Dixon, Naholo
Pens: Sopoaga 2
Drop Goal: Banks