Hurricanes outclass Lions to win Super Rugby
Wellington - The Hurricanes ended a 20-year nightmare on Saturday when Beauden Barrett in scintillating form engineered a 20-3 victory over the Lions on Saturday for their maiden Super Rugby title.
As it happened: Hurricanes 20-3 Lions
On a miserable, wet night in Wellington, man-of-the-match Barrett was everywhere for the Hurricanes and settled the outcome with an audacious try 12 minutes from time.
There were tumultuous scenes in the packed stadium as the Hurricanes, a team which often promised plenty but never delivered, became the fifth New Zealand side to be crowned Super champions.
The atrocious conditions dictated the outcome would rest on which of rival flyhalves Barrett and Elton Jantjies could best direct play.
It was a kicking duel Barrett won as he kept returning the Hurricanes to point-scoring positions despite the Lions dominating territory.
Cory Jane also scored for the Hurricanes with Barrett adding two conversions and two penalties while the Lions points came from a sole Elton Jantjies penalty.
It has been a long road to the top for the Hurricanes who lost the 2006 and 2015 finals as well as being beaten five times in the semi-finals.
But 2016 was not going to elude them, particularly with their local knowledge of Wellington's wintry conditions while the arduous travel from South Africa eventually told on the Lions as the game wore on.
When the Lions used their big men to ram a pathway forward in the first half they were stopped in their tracks time and again as Brad Shields and Victor Vito, in his 100th game, led a bruising defence.
If the Lions went wide they were rattled by the Hurricanes line speed which directly led to the opening try.
Lionel Mapoe was forced to rush a clearing kick which went straight into the arms of Jane a few metres away and the former All Black wing had an easy run to the line.
The Hurricanes thought they had first points on the board six minutes into the game when Jane fielded a Barrett cross kick and crossed the line wide out only to be brought back for an earlier knock on.
But Jane was not to be denied the second time and with Barrett and Jantjies exchanging penalties the Hurricanes led 10-3 at the turn.
The Lions believed they had a try scoring chance late in the first half when they turned down a close-range penalty in favour of a scrum only to be pushed off the ball by a 'Canes pack that was otherwise beaten in every other scrum.
A further Barrett penalty early in the second half extended the lead to 13-3 and as the Lions desperately tried to close the gap Barrett settled the outcome 12 minutes from the end.
The Lions won a defensive lineout only to fumble the ball which allowed the ever-alert Barrett to race through to score under their noses.
Tries: Cory Jane, Beauden Barrett
Conversions: Barrett (2)
Penalties: Barrett (2)
Penalty: Elton Jantjies
15 James Marshall, 14 Cory Jane, 13 Matt Proctor, 12 Willis Halaholo, 11 Jason Woodward, 10 Beauden Barrett, 9 TJ Perenara, 8 Victor Vito, 7 Ardie Savea, 6 Brad Shields, 5 Michael Fatialofa, 4 Vaea Fifita, 3 Ben May, 2 Dane Coles (captain), 1 Loni Uhila
Substitutes: 16 Ricky Riccitelli, 17 Chris Eves, 18 Mike Kainga/Reggie Goodes, 19 Mark Abbott, 20 Callum Gibbins/Tony Lambourn, 21 Jamison Gibson-Park, 22 Vince Aso, 23 Julian Savea
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Faf de Klerk, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Warwick Tecklenburg, 6 Jaco Kriel, 5, Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Julian Redelinghuys, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Dylon Smith
Substitutes: 16 Armand ‘Akker’ van der Merwe, 17 Corner Fourie, 18 Jacques van Rooyen, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Ruan Ackermann, 21 Ross Cronje, 22 Howard Mnisi, 23 Jaco van der Walt