Canterbury have won the 2016 Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final by defeating Tasman 43-27 to retain their provincial rugby crown. This title marks their eighth in the last nine years and extends their dynasty over New Zealand’s top provincial league.
Things got off to a cracking start for Canterbury in the first minute as David McDuling charged down a kick and then rumbled in for the score. The scoreboard started rolling for both sides as Tasman took the lead midway through the first half.
From there, however, things swung back to the defending champs as flyhalf Richie Mo’unga scored the first of his brace of tries, a brilliant effort that made the score 17-13.
Canterbury took the lead into the second half and it would be Mo’unga again who would score his second try and effectively put the match out of reach. Credit to Tasman as they fought hard to the final whistle.
No doubt, every team begins the season with thoughts of a championship, but this was particularly sweet for Canterbury as it was yet another successful title defence.
If Mo’unga continues at this pace, his name could be called at an even higher level at some point.
Speaking of the team’s performance, he said: “We talked about starting well. In finals footy, the team that gets a good start, they’ve got the upper hand and we just knew how crucial it was to start well and that’s what we did.”
It’s certainly the kind of momentum new Crusaders coach Scott Robertson will be needing as he jumps to Super Rugby as Todd Blackadder’s replacement.
It was also Crusader and Canterbury winger Johnny McNicholl’s last match as he is set to join the Scarlets in Wales.
credit: All Blacks