A year after a painful defeat in the final and after 21 years of unrewarded effort, the Hurricanes won the Super Rugby title for the first time yesterday, beating South Africa’s Lions 20-3 in a final played in frigid conditions in Wellington, New Zealand.
Fly-half Beauden Barrett scored a try among 15 points to surpass his own season points-scoring record and lead the Hurricanes to a triumph which overcame years of disappointments.
The All Blacks stand-off sealed victory with the Hurricanes’ second try 10 minutes from time as the Wellington-based outfit finally got their hands on the trophy.
They now become the last of the New Zealand sides to win the championship, following the Crusaders, Blues and Highlanders.
Barrett’s early penalty put the final hosts ahead before the 25-year-old converted Cory Jane’s 22nd-minute try, the New Zealand wing going over in the corner after impressively hanging on to Lionel Mapoe’s attempted kick through.
Elton Jantjies’ penalty reduced the gap to 10-3 at half-time, but those were the only points of the final for the South African side and the Hurricanes wrapped up the win with Barrett following up a 52nd-minute penalty by converting his own late try.
“It’s been a phenomenal season and I’m really proud of every single player,” said winning captain Warren Whiteley, who played with an injury. “The Hurricanes thoroughly deserved it tonight.”