Robbie Robinson’s magical moment won the Chiefs a second successive Super Rugby title.
The Chiefs beat the Brumbies 27-22 after trailing 16-9 at half time.
The Brumbies for 70 minutes were the more intelligent side, the better overall side and the masters of the breakdown. But the minds and legs predictably tired in the final 10 minutes and the Chiefs did just enough to win the title.
The Brumbies were heroic in defeat and coach Jake White will forever be left wondering what could have happened had fullback Jesse Mogg found touch with his penalty kick to the corner with less than a minute to play.
Mogg went for greater distance and missed touch. The match ended 10 seconds later.
A converted try could still have won it for the Brumbies. The Australians will be left asking what could have been because they were definitely good enough to win in Hamilton.
White and forwards coach Laurie Fischer certainly found the weaknesses in the Chiefs at the breakdown and targeted the sluggish and slow service of scrumhalf Kerr-Barlow.
It meant the Chiefs had no quick phase ball and Tawera Kerr-Barlow was often caught in two minds, one which led to him throwing an intercept try that gifted the Brumbies seven points just before half-time.
Home ground advantage favoured the Chiefs as did the fact that they didn’t have to travel.
The Chiefs looked like a team whose players had played their final a week ago against the Crusaders. Physically they struggled to impose themselves for much of the match and the intensity of a week ago simply wasn’t there.
The Brumbies, who travelled to Pretoria to beat the Bulls and returned to Australia on Monday and flew to New Zealand on Thursday, just didn’t have a big enough lead going into the final 10 minutes.
The Chiefs never looked capable of breaking down the Brumbies defence, until Robinson’s step and break in the 70th minute.
Aaron Cruden, who had missed three kicks and didn’t play particularly well, kicked the conversion and then goaled a penalty in the 75th minute to make it a five point ball game – one that proved a score beyond the Brumbies.
Brumbies inside centre Christian Lealiifano scored all 22 points and broke the Brumbies and Australian record for most points scored in a season.
The Crusaders are the only team in the history of the tournament to win a final off-shore and the flawed system was again the winner in how much it favoured the home team.
Chiefs – Tries: Liam Messam, Robbie Robinson. Conversion: Aaron Cruden. Penalties: Cruden (5).
Brumbies – Try: Christian Lealiifano. Conversion: Lealiifano. Penalties: Lealiifano (5).
Chiefs – 15 Gareth Anscombe, 14 Lelia Masaga, 13 Charlie Ngatai, 12 Andrew Horrell, 11 Asaeli Tikoirotuma, 10 Aaron Cruden, 9 Tawera Kerr-Barlow, 8 Matt Vant Leven, 7 Tanerau Latimer, 6 Liam Messam, 5 Brodie Retallick, 4 Craig Clarke, 3 Ben Tameifuna, 2 Hika Elliot, 1 Toby Smith.
Subs: 16 Rhys Marshall, 17 Ben Afeaki, 18 Michael Fitzgerald, 19 Sam Cane, 20 Augustine Pulu, 21 Bundee Aki, 22 Robbie Robinson.
Brumbies – 15 Jesse Mogg, 14 Henry Speight, 13 Tevita Kuridrani, 12 Christian Lealiifano, 11 Clyde Rathbone, 10 Matt Toomua, 9 Nic White, 8 Ben Mowen (c), 7 George Smith, 6 Peter Kimlin, 5 Sam Carter, 4 Scott Fardy, 3 Ben Alexander, 2 Stephen Moore, 1 Scott Sio.
Subs: 16 Siliva Siliva, 17 Ruan Smith, 18 Fotu Auelua, 19 Colby Faingaa, 20 Ian Prior, 21 Andrew Smith, 22 Joe Tomane.