Ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby final at Ellis Park, Sport360’s Alex Broun takes a look back at five of the best finals down through the years.
Which is your favourite?
1996 – Blues 45 Sharks 21
Super Rugby’s inaugural final and one that will always be remembered for the late-great Jonah Lomu and the Blues hammering the Sharks to clinch the title.
One of five try scorers for the Blues at Eden Park, with Andrew Blowers getting a double, the Auckland franchise and Lomu in particular were outstanding against Gary Teichmann’s Sharks.
The Sharks remain Super Rugby’s unluckiest side, appearing in four finals (1996, 2001, 2007, 2012) without ever taking home the trophy.
2006 – Crusaders 19 Hurricanes 12
Known as the “Foggy Final” or even “Gorillas in the Mist” it remains one of Super Rugby’s most controversial ever matches.
With thick fog shrouding Jade Stadium in Christchurch, making conditions virtually unplayable, the decision was made to go ahead.
Both teams tried to make the best of difficult circumstances with the Crusaders prevailing, thanks mainly to the boot of All Blacks fly-half Dan Carter.
“I don’t know what the crowd saw because it was tough out here,” said Crusaders captain Richie McCaw.
“We tried to keep it simple. We knew we had to keep it tighter. There were a few mistakes with the slippery ball.”
2007 – Sharks 19 Bulls 20
The first all South African final and one the Sharks will always regret losing.
With time almost up and the Bulls trailing 19-13 Francois Steyn’s missed touch kick proved to be costly.
The Bulls built up pressure in the Sharks’ 22, and the ball was then flung wide to winger Bryan Habana who slipped a tackle before applying the afterburners on a weaving run to score by the posts – Derick Hougaard’s simple conversion clinching the most dramatic of wins.
From here, the Bulls went on to win two more titles in three years.
2011 – Reds 18 Crusaders 13
The star-studded Crusaders were heavily favoured to win, but someone forgot to tell Queensland scrumhalf Will Genia.
With the Crusaders leading at half-time in Brisbane, after a Dan Carter try, the Reds fought back to 13-13, then Genia came up with the score of his life — a mazy, breathtaking run from inside his own half that turned out to be the match-winning try.
In front of a packed-out Suncorp Stadium this was Queensland’s finest hour.
2014 – Waratahs 33 Crusaders 32
In one of the most thrilling Super Rugby finals a 79th minute penalty goal to Bernard “The Iceman” Foley saw the Tahs sneak home.
The match, played in front of then record crowd of 61,238, see-sawed through the 80 minutes with Adam Ashley-Cooper crossing for a double for NSW and Matt Todd and Nemani Nadolo scoring for the visitors.
With the Crusaders leading by two points in the final minutes Richie McCaw was penalized and Foley did the rest.
The Waratahs won their first Super Rugby title in 19 attempts after two lost finals.