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Super 15 Final 2013

By TigerR
August 21 2013

(Waikato) Chiefs 27-22 Brumbies (of the Australian Capital Teritory {aka Canberra})                                  There were 24000 Chiefs suppporters, 999 Brumbies supporters and me in the ground which was full to capacity for a 7.35pm kick off in Hamilton, New Zealand. 

For the record for all sorts of reasons, not least that my cousin lives in the Waikato rugby region, I lent my support to the Chiefs who were defending champions.

Hamilton is on the Waikato river on the North Island of New Zealand about 60 miles south of Aukland.  It is the region of New Zealand with the highest proportion of the population with Maori ancestry.  Therefore there was a Haka before the match performed by the tribesmen loca to the stadium dressed in the traditional way.  In fact there were two Hakas one off the pitch for the crowd and another on the pitch for the TV cameras.  No players took part and nor were they on the field at the time.

But, you may well ask, how come I had a ticket and why was it being played in a sadium with a capacity of only 25,000?  The answers in reverse order are that the final is played at the ground of the team which makes the final which had the best record in the regular season.  This is quaint and traditional but also dictated by the problems of supporters flying long distances e.g. from New Zealand to South Africa or vice versa.  Since the finalists are only known the week-end before the final tickets are sold in a big rush in the week before the match.  I happened to be on holiday and wanting to go to see a rugby match in New Zealand.  There was only one match on in the whole of the New Zealand that week-end and my cousin managed to get us tickets.

The Brumbies started fast and had the territory that allowed them to kick three penalties. The the Chiefs fought their way back to 9-9.  It could have been a lead but Chiefs iconic fly half Aaron Cruden has a weakness to his game which is goal kicking.  His first effort at goal as been desribed by some a resembling a flying turkey.

One observation about the style of rugby played was that the speed with which the ball was recycled at the breakdown was much faster.  This is down to three things, the style of refereeing, the attitude of the players and the lack of protection given to the scrum half.  I have heard complaints that Tigers don't give Ben Youngs enough protection but it may be that this is delberate.  Scrum halfs that play in this evironment must learn to play the ball quickly or be clobbered by the defence.  It's all about reactions and experience and you can't get the experience without playing that way.  Anyway this style of play went wrong for the Chiefs just before half time when a loopy pass from the Chiefs' scrum half came off the finger tips of a Chiefs player and fell to the Brunbies fly half who ran from his own half to score under the posts.

This did not stop the Chiefs from continuing to play the fast and loose style of breakdown play and in the end this gave them enough fast ball in the last 15 minutes to score two tries and win the game.

After the presentations, which took even longer than the ones in the Northern Hemisphere, the Chiefs players joined the local Maori troupe and performed the Haka as a victory celebration.  By this time it was 10.45 at night and 90 minute drive back to Thames too enjoy so no chance for a celebratory beer.  3pm is a much better KO time but the South Africans, who had no interest in the final, would have been fast asleep.

During the interview of the Chiefs co-captain for the TV cameras he used the 'f' word which put a chill down my spine.  He described the Chiefs as a 'franchise'.  This and the failure to use the geographical designation 'Waikato' took the edge off the celebration for me.  It means, as it has in the USA, that the Chiefs could be moved to say Argentina (or, more likely, Napier) if the right financial deal were to be put in place.

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Super 15 Final 2013 (IP Logged)
21/08/2013 21:16
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Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 2013:08:30:22:00:57 by Tiggs.

Re: Super 15 Final 2013
TigerChick (IP Logged)
21/08/2013 21:17
It's been so long since I've uploaded a story, that I can't remember what to do with images. Apologies TigerR, normal services will resume soon!


Will update the site with news stories and reports. Supporting the Tigers fans community
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Re: Super 15 Final 2013
Tiggs (IP Logged)
21/08/2013 21:34
Jen, thanks I was going to post this up at the weekend, with photo, as that was when the next article is needed, but thanks all the same !

Re: Super 15 Final 2013
Stopsy (IP Logged)
22/08/2013 05:40
Many thanks TigerR a good and jealousy creating article.

Re: Super 15 Final 2013
SimW (IP Logged)
22/08/2013 10:27
Thanks TigerR. An interesting read.

Re: Super 15 Final 2013
TigeR (IP Logged)
22/08/2013 12:32
Too many typos, sorry. I've sent in a cleaner copy of the text.

Re: Super 15 Final 2013
ChrisC (IP Logged)
22/08/2013 13:19
Enjoyed that thanks.

Re: Super 15 Final 2013
Rich W (IP Logged)
22/08/2013 14:05
Good stuff Rex - thanks.

Good report! Love the description of Cruden's kicking! Daniel Carter he isn't...

Lots of points on which to comment.

How jealous am I. One of the rugby world's great annual fixtures and in Hamilton too. They really love their rugby there - probably more than anywhere else in NZ - with the possible exception of Christchurch.
They call Waikato the centre of Maoridom for a reason!
Is the statue of Richard O'Brien as Riff Raff still in the town centre?
I'm quite a fan of that stadium - great atmosphere and probably just the right size for most games.

On the speed of breakdown ball - doesn't it all come back to the refereeing? I appreciate that the other factors are real but if they don't allow counter-rucking then teams don't commit the numbers in attack to secure the ball which therefore leaves the SH uprotected and vulnerable to what our American cousins would call a 'sack' in a way that our refs would probably consider illegal were it possible.

I'd argue that what the players chose to do is almost wholly down to refereeing interpretation.

As for the consequences - yes it produces quick - but untidy - ball and thus, maybe, more constant and frenetic attacking but at the cost of a proper contest for the ball. Isn't that effectively rugby league?

In fairness the NZ franchises in Super Rugby are allocated by the NZRFU - so whilst the could be moved to Argentina they are never going to be. But you're right - it's a real shame that the 'franchises' don't necessarily belong to the regions which birthed them - they could be moved from Hamilton to, say, Napier. Nelson or New Plymouth...

Anyway - enjoy your hols and I hope see you in a few weeks.


Re: Super 15 Final 2013
TigerChick (IP Logged)
22/08/2013 15:45
Oops sorry! I did think you might not need it posting straight the way!! What was I doing wrong with the photos?


Will update the site with news stories and reports. Supporting the Tigers fans community
Email me via tigerchick "at" ymail "dot" com (No spam!)

Re: Super 15 Final 2013
Tiggs (IP Logged)
22/08/2013 17:23
That's ok, not sure about the photos, but the original was too large for SN, so I resized it smaller, saved it on my pc, then uploaded it, and added to the story.

Re: Super 15 Final 2013
TigerChick (IP Logged)
22/08/2013 20:49
Ah that would be it. Resize next time!


Will update the site with news stories and reports. Supporting the Tigers fans community
Email me via tigerchick "at" ymail "dot" com (No spam!)

Re: Super 15 Final 2013
Tiggs (IP Logged)
30/08/2013 22:00
Many thanks again Rex !!!

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