Reds 18-13 Crusaders, Super Rugby Final, Brisbane, July 9
Reds take Super Rugby title
July 9, 2011
The Reds celebrate with the new Super Rugby trophy
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The Reds won their first Super Rugby title of the professional era with a pulsating 18-13 win over the Crusaders at the Suncorp Stadium in Brisbane.
The Reds now join the Brumbies, who took the title in 2001 and 2004, as Australian winners of the southern hemisphere's premier competition. An outstanding solo try from Will Genia saw the Reds upset the odds. The sides were locked at 13-13 with just 12 minutes to play when the Wallabies scrum-half received the ball 10 yards inside his own half following a turnover. He initially appeared to be boxed in by defenders but quick footwork saw him break free into Crusaders' territory.
Genia still had plenty of work to do but a dummy to his outside support as they reached the 22 gave him just enough room and momentum to slide over the line. The Crusaders, the most successful side in the competition's history, launched a series of desperate late attacks, but it was not enough as their Brisbane-based opponents closed out the victory.
The Crusaders had led 7-6 at the break thanks to a fantastic converted try by Daniel Carter, Quade Cooper responding with two penalties for the Reds. Carter kicked two penalties of his own after the break but Digby Ioane's spectacular try levelled the scores, before Genia struck the decisive blow.
Many had predicted an exciting contest between the tournament's leading scorers and the opening exchanges were played out at a frenetic pace. Ioane could have given the hosts an early try but he failed to gather a well-placed Cooper chip, while the Crusaders launched two bright counter-attacks in a breathless start.
The New Zealand side were the quicker of the teams to settle, retaining possession through the phases and putting pressure on the Reds defence, but their gathering momentum was halted by two not-straight line-out throws from hooker Corey Flynn. The normally metronomic Carter missed a penalty chance to give the visitors the lead, and opposite number Cooper punished him by nailing his first effort on the half-hour mark for a 3-0 lead.
But All Blacks star Carter hit back by crafting the opening try with a moment of genius. The fly-half had few options when he received the ball going right but his delicate grubber turned the defence and he raced through to re-gather and dot down before adding the extras.
Cooper kept the Reds in close company at the break by slotting his second three-pointer two minutes prior to the break. The Crusaders should have extended their lead within seconds of the resumption as Sonny Bill Williams' pass sent centre partner Robbie Fruean clear, but his inside pass was juggled and put down by Sean Maitland with a clear run to the line beckoning.
Carter knocked over a penalty to establish a four-point lead at 10-6, but the Reds struck back through Ioane. The powerful winger turned on the gas to outpace Williams on halfway and his left-foot step left full-back Tom Marshall clutching at thin air as he charged over, Cooper kicked the conversion to make it 13-10 in the hosts favour.
The lead did not last long as Carter held his nerve to slot a long-distance penalty shot, but Genia had the last word with his wonderful clinching score.
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