Hayden Hopgood scored the only try of the match as Canterbury beat Wellington 7-6 in the final of the national provincial championship.
The domestic title is Canterbury’s first since 2004 and adds to the Super 14 crown claimed earlier this year.
As the scoreline suggests, it wasn’t an open affair, but rather a tense and tight one. Hopgood’s 25th minute try was eventually the difference between the two sides, but Wellington had their chances to sneak what would have been a rare title – they have now lost five of their last six showpieces.
The weather was not conducive to running rugby and Canterbury’s trademark defence again proved the difference between them and their competitors.”That was quite an effort considering how we had to hang on in that second half,” said Canterbury captain Kieran Read.
“Wellington just threw everything at us and we had to keep applying ourselves. We back our ‘D’ and it came out on top tonight.”
The victory ensures departing players Greg Somerville, Paul Williams, Hopgood, and Scott Hamilton (who is on his way to join Heyneke Meyer at Leicester) leave on a memorable note.
Wellington - Penalties: Piri Weepu (2).
Canterbury -Try: Hayden Hopgood, Conversion: Colin Slade.