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Highlanders Champions 2015 Super Rugby

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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.

bunny

 

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.

Photo /Getty
Photo /Getty

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.

Photo /Getty
Photo /Getty

Scorers:

For the Hurricanes:
Try: 
Nonu
Pens: Barrett 3

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

 

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18 COMMENTS

  1. Jacques you are right about the quality of rugby we were privileged to see in the final and the possible role of the referee in that. I got the feeling this year that the kiwi and Aussie refs were too quick to blow the whistle and ruined many a game. Jaco and Joubert last week controlled the games beautifully, allowing long periods of advantage and almost being invisible as good referees are. After so much criticism, hats off to them and hats off to the Highlanders.

    How good was Ross Geldenhuys reading the situation right to time his sacking of that Hurricanes rolling maul meters from the Highlanders line? He is the son of Piet Geldenhuys of Villagers and WP rugby fame who must be proud of his look alike son. Two Saffers in this final. Reggie Goodes the Hurricanes prop and if course Ross the Highlanders prop.

  2. @out wide:

    Reggie Goodes is about as Saffa as David Pocock is a Zimbo… went through the schoolboy/NZ Academy/Clubs before breaking into the Lions and Super side…

  3. So NZ have the AB’s, the Junior All Blacks, the NZ Maori and the NZ Barbarians all playing games each year…

    That essentially means that on top of the large AB squad there are at least another 75 professional players being kept in the NZ loop, same structures, same exposure… it is no wonder you do not see NZ players leaving in their droves like the South African crisis!

    Someone like Milner-Skudder took three season just to break into the extended Canes squad until two sublime performances for the NZ Maori in 2014 made everyone from the Cane’s and AB’s take note… the rest they say is history…

    What happened to the Bok ‘A’ side… hell what happened to the farce (except BIL tour) of the Emerging Springboks… instead Springbok coaches have to ‘experiment’ at test level and have insanely huge training squads, which prove nothing’ wherein to garner who could be test quality!

    It is insane!

  4. Afraid to say by far best rugby nation on the planet still. The ABs could pick a 4th team and probably have the same chance as winning the RWC as any other nation.

    Fuck knows how they do it with the population of Scotland.

  5. I am in awe. Taking a sabbatical! So the Highlanders won the last real Super Rugby compared to next season’s rubbish!!

  6. @DavidS:
    Dawie, jou ou perd

    There are two NZ teams in the final.

    The Hurricanes have blasted everyone out of their gdam kouse in this comp
    and now they get beaten by the highlanders. The crusaders who are like ten times champs aint even featuring.

    Complex has nothing to do with it – when the SA teams produce a winner and show the depth these okes do I’ll be the first to champion it. We aint produce diddly shit, if the stormers and lions are our best teams, we are seriously in the kak, and its not the fresh kind of kak either, I am talking deep smelly poo…

  7. @bryce_in_oz: Bryce, not sure what goes on your side of the ditch but here in NZ, its where you were born and grew up that describes your origins, so we can claim both Goodes and Geldenhuys as “ours”. Goodes born in Witbank and initially schooled at Affies in Pretoria and Pocock born in Gweru but migrating to Aus with his family when he was 14 are as African as I am and I have been here 12 years. Some migrate, cut themselves off and want nothing to do with their “home countries” most stay that country’s best ambassadors in their adopted countries.

    I don’t subscribe to David’s logic that once you leave the laager, you are a “veraaier” and unfit to comment on things that happen in your country of birth. In the global village we now live in, that logic belongs with the oxwagon.

  8. @out wide:

    Haha… I have my own set of rules when it comes to claiming sportsmen for a particular country…

    If a guy like Goodes (and their are quite a few other ZAF examples) has gone through the NZ schools system as a player from the age of 16, the NZ ERA system, then the U20’s, then Clubs, then ITM and finally is playing NZ Super Rugby… he is most definitely not claimable (sic) as an expat ZAF rugby player.

    Clyde Rathbone on the other hand, CJ Stander, Daniel Vickerman just to name a few yes…

    Others on the other hand like to absurdly claim Andrew Merthens, James O Connor, Roger Federer lol!

    P.S. I’m glad to see Ross doing so well in a country of dynamite TH’s (well LH’s too)… he was exceptional in a shite Lions team all those years ago…

  9. @DavidS:

    Mate there is a fine line between between being a patriot and an ignoramus

    You cannot argue that having one or more test sides like the AB’s, ENG, IRE and RSA (used to) et al does enable huge benefits.

    If RSA still had an ‘A’ side and a ‘proper’ Emerging Boks side they could:

    – Gauge the many fringe players (everyone punts for higher accolades at tougher levels and be able experiment with combinations without having to do this at test level.
    – Expose a group of 50 plus (on top of the Bok squad) to actually playing under Bok coaches, structures and game-plans rather than ridiculous huge training squads that garner minimal benefit.

    And there is far more to add (but I’m getting looks from the old lady as it is Sunday shopping time)…

    The above not only ensures a greater number of players are kept in the Bok loop, enhances transition into the test side due to form or because of injury and potentially keeps far more top tier up-n-comers (and seniors) who are on the fringe, in the country rather than giving up on Bok Rugby.

    Not only that but there could be plenty of hidden gems, not getting Super game-time, unearthed… the Milner-Scudder story is a prime example.

    I might be wrong but I’m pretty sure that is one plays for a Saxons side (England A) you cannot be capped by another country either?

    But I digress… wanting to bring back the Bok ‘A’ side and Emerging Bok side (even if only for a few games a year against decent opposition… just like the AB’s have the Junior AB’s, The NZ Maori and now the NZ barbarians (on top of their AB side) is most certainly not ESSA… it’s fucking not rocket science

  10. Nope I think DavidS is right that we are veraaierrs, but I personally didn’t leave for political reasons or safety fears, just wanted to see what else was out there, but Ja also a veraaier and I believe the okes are correct I have no claim to SA, or at least no more than those who departed SA. Such as much or our current Bok span.

    But as far as a complex goes, the only ones with a complex is the fool who cannot acknowledge excellence when it’s staring him the face.

    Two nz team in the final – historical neither of which are NZ strongest rugby areas. Nz rugby is incredibly powerful and there is no one even remotely close in terms of depth, that this is produced by a country with a tenth of the population of SA is just plain excellence of the highest order.

  11. Groot veraaier, nZ still best team in world, that’s reality, no doubt about it.

    As for my cashew nut, I’m very proud of benson.

    G’day.

  12. Actually it would be quite good to see each of the top 5 nation send two teams to a world cup. I’d definitely like to see how a bok ‘b’ team coached under mitchell would do.

  13. We watched the Highlanders / Chiefs “quarterfinal” when I was in New Zealand in June. My brother tipped them as champions at that stage. I still had my money on the Hurricanes.

    What I love about this Highlanders team, is the lack of big name stars in the team along with the lack of “experienced” players who have been in a final play-off situation before. It gives a huge, massive middle finger to the crowd who insists that you only win championships on the back of experience and guys who have been in those situations before.

    Along with the Lions success this year, I hope it continues for a long time, that guys who are not rated that high, and are not that experienced can come through with skill and motivation and beat the guys who have all the experience in the world and have been there before.

    As a last point, it is good to keep in mind if we did not have this convoluted, pathetic points ladder system in Super Rugby, the Hurricanes and Highlanders would have been the first and second placed teams on the log. So not that much of a surprise that would contest the final.

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