The Queensland Reds are the inaugural Super 15 champions. Stout defence and two moments of individual brilliance gave the Reds an 18-13 victory over the Crusaders.
The Crusaders led 7-6 at half-time after a brilliantly-taken try by Dan Carter. They looked to have extended their lead early in the second half when Brad Thorn, playing his final Super Rugby match crashed over, but the cameras were unable to see the grounding of the ball that Thorn claimed, and the try was disallowed. Moments later Digby Ioane scored a great try for the Reds to give them the lead.
Carter tied the match at 13-all with a long-range penalty, but then came a moment of pure genius from Will Genia who had had an error-ridden match to that point. With just 12 minutes to go he sliced through the Crusaders defence from his own side of halfway to score a brilliant solo try and clinch the match.
It was a match worthy of a final, played at test match intensity. The Crusaders were able to out pressure on Genia and Quade Cooper, both of whom had in-and-out games. But the Crusaders lineout had a shocking night; Corey Flynn couldn't get his throwing right, and in the second half they turned a number of lineouts over to the Reds.
The breakdown was no place for the faint-hearted. Both teams attacked the loose ball in what became a terrific contest. And both teams defended with courage. The Reds were able to breach the Crusaders' defence one extra time, and that was the difference between the teams.
We dwelt on the respective build-ups of the teams yesterday. The Crusaders were gallant in defeat, but they were beaten by the better team on the night; the team that took its chances. Congratulations to the Reds; worthy Super Rugby champions.