Sunday, July 10, 2011

Reds are the Super Rugby Champs

Radike Samo (picture from )

One thing that really stood out for me in this Reds/Crusaders final, and that was Radike Samo’s hair. What a magnificent afro, even if he’s doubled the size of the hole in the ozone layer all on his own with hairspray. This was a worthy final after21 weeks of competition, as easily the best two sides in the competition slugged it out for the cup. Taking a step back, the ‘Saders with a home venue could easily have had a top two finish, got a weeks rest, and missed out on a 22000 km round trip. They looked tired by the end of the match, and just slightly off the pace.

But the Reds could only play what was in front of them, and did well to beat this excellent Crusader side. The Crusaders played a fairly conservative game plan, with intense pressure on the breakdown, the scrums, and were up quickly and in the face of Genia and Cooper. Cooper didn’t really have his best match, he had to resort to a lot of kicking to cope with the lack of space, and he didn’t kick very well, either to close or too far, and his far kicks weren’t well followed up. Carter was pretty quiet too, and has been for the last number of weeks, missing a few kicks that he should really have put away. He put one sublime grubber through that led to his try, but there was little of the flair he has on show, and the whole backline was pretty quiet, a bit in their shells.

It took ages for the Reds to find their rhythm, they were over eager, kicking and running at the wrong time, but when Digby Ioane finally found a bit of space, he made the most of it, running through half the Crusaders team. I blame Peter Crouch for the start of the dance celebration, but I guess Digby’s try was worthy of making a fuss over. Then it was Genia’s chance to shine, he found a little space, pinned his ears back and went for it, scoring the match winning try.

That’s the first time the Reds have won the competition, they were the form team, and played arguably the most attractive rugby. When you think great players like John Eales never got to lift the trophy, it shows you special the team of 2011 is. The Crusaders will be back, but time for the Reds to bask in some well deserved limelight.

Super Rugby

Saturday , July 9

Reds 18 - 13 Crusaders

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