How Much Is The Rugby World Cup Trophy Worth South Africa Win the Super 14 Rugby Cup Finals

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South Africa Win the Super 14 Rugby Cup Finals

Last weekend saw history when the two South African teams, namely the Coastal Sharks from Durban and the Blue Bulls from Pretoria, both won their semi-final matches against the two teams from New Zealand, the Auckland Blues and the Canterbury Crusaders. in that order. It didn’t matter if the Bulls or the Sharks won the last game, the cup still remained in South Africa. Well, they forgot to tell that to the rugby crazed South African fans. All 54,000 tickets for the game in Durban were sold within hours on Monday and the whole country was divided into either Sharks fans or Bulls fans.

The week was full of excitement and hype and it was certainly the biggest rugby sport, since 1995, when South Africa reached the World Cup Final, against New Zealand. We won that match and again, it looked like SA couldn’t lose now either. But, tickets were sold on the black market, competitions were held with tickets as prizes, the radio and television stations were nailed with Saturday’s game and the rugby public was encouraged to phone in to the shows. Newspapers and magazines were full of rugby trivia and in pubs across the country, the only conversation going on was rugby talk. The whole country was buzzing in the lead up to Saturday’s big game.

Thousands of people took a day off from their workplaces, in order to prepare and get themselves to Durban, early. Accommodation in hotels, hostels and bed and breakfast establishments were all fully booked, days in advance. Both fan clubs made forecasts, set challenges and prepared cars, uniforms and anything else that could be adapted to the official colors and symbols of the teams. On Friday the traffic rush began to descend on Durban. Cars were seen with streamers, ribbons, flags and other things. Bottle shops and butchers were hard pressed to supply the demand from potential parties and braaiers. The big day had arrived.

The bookies had the Bulls slightly ahead as favourites, but the locals were having none of that and the odds were swinging back and forth. Every pub, hotel, club and home in the country was packed with rowdy rugby fans. At 15.00 pm the whistle blew to start the big game, the clash of the Titans.

The game was fast, hard, furious, aggressive, loud, body crunching, wild, scintillating and any other adjective to describe the perfect conditions. The weather was glorious, the country united in their love of rugby, but divided into two very clear fan camps.

Throughout the game, the Sharks seemed to be the better team, they were only a few points ahead, for almost the whole game, but it was always anyone’s game, as the such a close score and as they say, “It ain’t over till the fat lady sings”. No one could have ever realized how prophetic this innocent saying would prove to be.

A fast, furious and wild game built to the most dramatic climax imaginable as, with just three minutes to go, the Sharks appeared to have clinched victory against the odds when Albert van den scored Berg their second request, to rectify the Sharks. 19 and the Bulls at 13. With only seconds to go, the Sharks fans came alive in a cacophony of congratulatory applause, but few of them realized that they were about to change history.

Because of all the noise, no one heard the final hooter, not even the referee. Play was allowed to continue a minute and a half too long. The Sharks almost stopped playing, when the Bulls kicked the ball forward, in a mistake not seen by the ref. He allowed them to continue with the Bulls, catching the Sharks off guard and Bryan Habana scoring a try, for them. The scores were now 19 for the Sharks and 18 for the Bulls. The Sharks and all their fans looked stunned, shocked, disbelieving and upset at this unfortunate incident and everyone was just begging and wanting the referee to stop playing, refuse the request, or at least consult the tmo and the game officials, but to no avail. He granted the request.

The Bulls now had the chance to kick for poles, for 2 more points and win the game. The stadium fell silent, with everyone present trying to grasp the magnitude of what was happening. At best, the Bulls could fail, forcing a tie and playing 20 extra minutes. Please lose, were the thoughts of half the country. Please get it over with were the thoughts of the other half of the country. Well, the Bulls succeeded, won the game and stole the trophy. The Bulls and their fans were delighted with the result, while the Sharks and their loyal fans were disappointed. Many people were seen crying, some for joy, some for boredom. That was it. It was over. Bulls fans rushed off to grab another drink to celebrate. The loyal fans of the Shark, just sat still, head in hands.

Actually, something strange happened after the game. The country united in glory, with Bulls and Sharks fans hugging and shaking hands and sharing braai fires around the country. The Sharks fans admitted that the Bulls had won and the Bulls fans felt sorry for them admitting that they were very lucky to have stolen the trophy in the dying moments of the game. The great thing is that although the trophy is held in Pretoria and not Durban, it is still in South Africa. It cannot be lost. It belongs to the whole country. The Super 14 tournament is considered the toughest, most physical rugby in the world and is a long tournament, all 16 weeks across 3 continents. The future also looks very bright. With the high standards of rugby and the unification of opposing Provincial teams, so close to the World Cup, in a few months, this can only bode well for the Springboks. Will we bring home the ultimate rugby trophy?

Run of play (as taken from the SA Rugby website)

Habana’s thrashing was even more devastating for the Sharks, as even the Bulls and the most ardent of their supporters would have admitted that the home team deserved to win.

an epic encounter, worthy of South Africa’s first Final. They were not expected to stand up to the blue bull for the full 80 minutes, the Sharks played with incredible passion and concentration, to knock the Bulls out of their stride. John Smit and his men were literally like Sharks in a feeding frenzy, when it came to the crash; swarming in larger numbers and rucking aggressively, in order to deny the Bulls the compelling momentum, they like to build up.

Sharks coach Dick Muir had clearly encouraged his charges to go for a break, with the Sharks willing to try, from any point on the pitch and it almost worked, as the home side nosed ahead the Bulls team, forced. to make mistakes.

The Bulls, having had a much worse opening ten minutes, scored an impressive try, through Pierre Spies, in the 12th minute, after a penalty to touch, a strong drive and a neat flip by Victor Matfield, but the threat of the ease , with which he was scored, soon extravagantly, as Spies made a critical mistake, to let the Sharks back in front.

The Sharks were keen to put pressure on the injured Fourie du Preez, through Ruan Pienaar and Butch James and a heavy hit by the latter on the inside, causing Spies to panic and try to get a 50/50 pass to Akona Ndungane — instead the ball went to JP Pietersen and the tournament’s leading try-scorer sped off to spread the wrong-footed Bulls to the goal line, 50 meters away.

Although Percy Montgomery missed the conversion, it was 8-7 after the first quarter and the flow was with the Sharks.

A swirling wind made the conditions difficult and with Johan Roets and Percy Montgomery laughing under the high ball, it seemed that mistakes, as in the Finals so often, would be more important than constructive play.

Montgomery kicked a penalty to make it 11-7 but Derick Hougaard recovered to cut the lead back to one point (11-10).

High and low paid off for the Sharks, as JP Nel was caught offside playing the ball after Roets hit it forward and Montgomery’s kick put the Sharks 14-10 up, after 34 minutes.

This was still the score at the break, a point reached with the Sharks hard on attack, but in the second period, the momentum began to swing the way of the Bulls. Hougaard missed a rebound goal, then was short with a long penalty and a strong break was shot by Gary Botha and carried forward by Pedrie Wannenburg, who snuffed out right at the corner.

Possession of the ball and field position were beginning to favor the Bulls, but an excellent bit of recycling went awry, when James made a crunching tackle on Wynand Olivier, as he

crash through inside Matfield.

However, the Sharks were forced to concede a penalty and Hougaard stepped up to make it 14-13, at the start of the final quarter.

The Sharks’ tackling was nothing short of heroic, however, with the Bulls tending to give the ball away too readily, with Jaco van der Westhuyzen poaching a comfortable attempt to drop from the ten meter line. and Butch James gets rid of a brute. kicked on behind his own line, when the ball bounced away from him, the crescendo rising from the ramparts of King’s Park was a sign that the majority of fans were beginning to sense a night of celebration, braai the biggest world

This confidence was not misplaced. The Sharks had their well-drilled pick-and-go in action again and a penalty to touch, which enabled Johann Muller to claim the line out and put a powerful boost into action. The Sharks were caught up, once, twice and then Albert van den Berg, forward for Johan Ackermann, stretched that elastic body off the side and squeezed the ball over the line.

There may be a question, whether Van den Berg had placed, or rolled the ball over the line, but not in the mind of referee Steve Walsh (it must be said he had a great game) who raised his hand to award and try .

The score was 19-13 and with Montgomery subdued it fell to Francois Steyn to try and add the two extra points which, with less than three minutes left to play, would have put the Bulls two scores behind.

But Steyn missed and it meant the Bulls could still win, with a converted try, but to do that they had to keep possession of the ball and the trouble was that the latex oval had to abuse, with the Sharks.

But then James, followed by Steyn, made crucial mistakes, by failing to get the ball into contact with panic clearance kicks and with Van der Westhuyzen and Ndungane running energetically, the Bulls attacked into the red zone.

At a ruck, it looked as if the ball had been taken away from the Bulls, but somehow he got back on their side and went wild from hand to hand, not looking a real threat, before a speculative wide pass to the right , by Adams, reached Habana and the speedy wing cut back in from the dotted five-metre line, crossed the 15-metre line and then straightened sharply off his left foot, to surge through and soar over the line, with the clock showing 81 minutes and 36 seconds.

Hougaard still had to secure the conversion, but although the Sharks charged, they were stopped by the referee and continued to loiter in front of the kicker, Pretoria’s ‘Liefling’ made no mistake, to give the biggest wins unlikely for the Bulls. and providing a home for the Super 14 Trophy in Pretoria.

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