Adam Ashley Cooper scored twice but it was Waratahs flyhalf Bernard Foley that struck a long distance, last minute penalty to claim a well deserved 33-32 Super Rugby Final victory over the Crusaders in Sydney. It is the Waratahs’ first ever Super Rugby title.
The match was played at a fantastic tempo throughout, with neither side giving in to the typical ‘finals rugby’ style of play that we’ve seen all too often in the past. This was one of the games of the year, final or not, typified by the 20-20 deadlock just minutes into the second half.
In the end it came down to a big call by referee Craig Joubert at the death, as he penalised Richie McCaw at the ruck. Foley stepped up and slotted the 45 metre penalty, only just, and the rest is history, with the Waratahs winning their first ever title, in front of a record crowd of 61 823.
The Waratahs had lead early on, shooting out to a 14-0 lead but the Crusaders aren’t the most successful side in Super Rugby history for nothing, and they came back to within inches of winning it, had it not been for Foley’s trusty right boot.
“I was hitting them well all night and it was probably right on my distance,” the tournament’s top points scorer said. “I had to give it my all and the rugby gods were on our side.”
Waratahs skipper Michael Hooper admitted that he thought Foley didn’t quite have the distance.
“I thought it went under, but it went over and I was ecstatic,” Hooper said.
The Waratahs join the Crusaders, Blues, Chiefs, Brumbies, Reds and Bulls as only the seventh franchise to win a Super Rugby crown.
Fans, pundits and players took to twitter post match to express their joy at what they had just witnessed. This will go down as an all time classic, and rightly so. Kudos to both teams for the attitude, skill level and dogged determination they displayed throughout.