Champions Canterbury provide gift for Christchurch

03 September 2011 - 14:43 By Sapa-AFP
Canterbury captain George Whitelock holds the trophy after winning the ITM Premiership Final between Waikato and Canterbury at Waikato Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Hamilton, New Zealand
Canterbury captain George Whitelock holds the trophy after winning the ITM Premiership Final between Waikato and Canterbury at Waikato Stadium on September 3, 2011 in Hamilton, New Zealand
Image: Sandra Mu

The Canterbury rugby team overcame a year of upheavals to win their fourth consecutive New Zealand provincial championship on Saturday, beating Waikato 12-3 in a tryless final.

The match was played on the eve of the first anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake, the first of an ongoing series of powerful tremors that devastated their home city of Christchurch.

“This is for the people of Christchurch,” captain George Whitelock said as he held the trophy aloft.

Canterbury are the main feeder province to the Crusaders who made the finals of this year’s Super 15 title without playing a home game after their stadium was rendered unplayable after a 6.3 magnitude quake in February.

Waikato beat Canterbury 27-13 in pool play and scored first in the final with an early penalty by former All Blacks fly-half Stephen Donald.

But Canterbury fought back with three penalties by 21-year-old Tom Taylor to lead 9-3 at half-time and he converted his fourth penalty in the dying minutes of the game.

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