Proud ‘Canes end long wait

Hurricanes coach Colin Cooper praised the maturity and professionalism of his side after they progressed to the Vodacom Super 14 final.

The ‘Canes withstood a late Waratahs fightback to win the Wellington semi-final 16-14 and make their first-ever appearance in a Super Rugby final. They will face either the Crusaders in Christchurch or the Bulls in Wellington next weekend, depending on the outcome of Saturday’s second semi-final.

“I’m very proud, very proud,” Cooper told Radio Sport. “We’ve waited 11 years for this. It’s just a real privilege and we’re very excited.

“There was a lot more pressure to win here than over there. We wanted to really attack them early and surprise them. I guess Wendell didn’t help their preparation but that’s the way it goes.”

Cooper praised his pack for an almost arrogant display of power during the last few minutes, when they kept the ball away from the ‘Tahs.

“We have just got to be proud of the way we hung in there, how professional we were winding down the clock with three minutes to go with our pick and go. I think it really showed the maturity of the group,” he said. “It had to be because they are a quality team and if we weren’t disciplined we were going to come second. So this is a very special moment.”