Finals day: the first Urc title at the Stormers, Leicester and Crusaders also triumph

In the all-South African challenge of Cape Town they defeated the Bulls 18-13. Premiership and Super Rugby titles awarded, Saracens and Blues defeated

The all-South African final of the first edition of the United Rugby Championship went to the Stormers, the former Celtic League and former Pro14 with Italians, Irish, Welshs and Scots, which from this edition welcomed the representatives of the rainbow nation. On the friendly field in Cape Town, the Stormers defeated the Pretoria Bulls 18-13.


The final unlocks in two minutes: from the touchline comes a whistle in favor of the Bulls, Chris Smith chooses to go for the big target, on the maintained possession comes the powerful break of the hooker Harold Grobberlaar and with the defense now open is the center Harold Voster to go beyond the line, with Smith also transforming. For the Stormers the 22 opponents remain a mirage until the half hour, then at 33 ‘they earn a penalty and decide to go for the poles, but Manie Libbock misses the target. But it goes better just before the break and at rest it goes 7-3. But the Bulls still hit cold at the beginning of the second half: Petersen collects a deep kick, Hendricks attacks him and forces the held that Smith transforms into 3 points. This time, however, the Stormers find the strength to react immediately: the extreme Kurt-Lee Arendse is forced to cancel in the in-goal, a good ball comes out of the scrum for Damian Willemse, who leads the way but is blocked a few steps from the goal, but supporting is number 8 Evan Ross, who reaches out to crush (Libbock transforms). At 56 ‘a high tackle against Ruhan Nel costa the yellow card in the center Cornal Hendricks and 3 minutes later the Stormers exploit the numerical superiority: touch and maul for the breakthrough of the newly entered prop Andre-Hugo Venter for overtaking. At 74 ‘the Stormers go deep in the 22 opponents and try to break through from the fray without succeeding, but lurking a few meters behind at a distance of drop is Libbock, who puts the poles for the +5. The Bulls can count on the last possession with the clock that is about to turn red, but the road to go is too much and the effort too, so after a couple of illusory attempts they are rejected in their own half, until they lose the oval. and Willemse can kick him out to kick off the Stormers party.


Curiously, the Premiership triumph of the Leicester Tigers, champions for the eleventh time thanks to the 15-12 success against the Saracens, is also strongly South African, returning immediately to the top after a year in the second division following the relegation inflicted at the table for having broken the rules on the salary cap. Owen Farrell opens the score with a placed on 5 ‘, but the first turning point arrives at 25’: scrum-half Aled Davies collects the yellow card (very close to red) for a shoulder tackle that hits the neck of hooker Julian Montoya and in the 10 ‘in numerical superiority the Tigers find two goals scored in South Africa: first with the flanker Hanro Liebenberg, who breaks through from a short distance on the tackle attempt by Chris Ashton, then with the number 8 Jasper Wiese at the flag on a short unmarked pass by Richard Wigglesworth (Freddie Burns, replacing the injured George Ford, transforms the former). In the middle, the Saracens hit the mark with a prohibitive distance placed by Elliot Daly. For a good twenty minutes in the second half the Tigers manage to repel the opponent’s attacks, they pay a very high price in terms of energy, but the most that the Saracens manage to get is another Farrell placed in the 64th minute. At 76 ‘, however, the yellow (and also in this case it could have been red) is waved to Matt Scott for a violent shoulder to the neck of Billy Vunipola near the goalposts, with Farrell then realizing the placement of the equalizer. But when they seem exhausted, the Tigers pull out a last grueling attack, the Saracens are forced to give up meter by meter, until just at 80 ‘Ben Youngs (who took over from Wigglesworth) has enough space to offer Burns the springboard for the drop that is worth the title.


The day of the finals opened this morning at Eden Park Auckland, where the Christchurch Crusaders defeated the hosts of the Blues 21-7 in the final of the Super Rugby Pacific, twenty-seventh edition of the southern hemisphere tournament, but the first in the new connotation, no longer the South Africans (emigrated to the Urc) and with Australians and New Zealanders who welcomed the representatives of the Pacific islands. New Zealand derby dominated by the Crusaders, who, after having touched two tries with Leicester Fainga’anuku and Codie Taylor, both saved by Mark Telea’s tackles at the flag, unlocked a drop by Richie Mo’unga in the 30th minute. Who then realizes a place before the, well-deserved, goal just at the end of the time of the scrum half Bryn Hall, very smart to recover the oval and to crush after the attempt by Pablo Matera stopped a few centimeters from the line. With the transformation of Mo’unga to sign the 16-0 on which you go to rest. At 59 ‘the Blues try to reopen it thanks to the flicker of the scrum half Finlay Christie, formidable in going to steal the ball from the opponent number 8 on the scrum of the Crusaders inside the 22 in front of the posts and then go to crush (with the transformation by Stephen Perofeta). The Blues believe it at this point, but a series of unforced errors nullify the offensive efforts, so it is the Crusaders who still go on target two minutes from the end with Seevu Reece, who, however, has to thank the smooth midfielder Sam Nock, who slipping misses the oval that Matera had kicked with a deep grubber in the 22.

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