Hurricanes beat Lions 20-3 to take Super Rugby trophy

06 August 2016 - 13:55 By Liam Del Carme in Wellington

The Lions crashed at the final hurdle as the Hurricanes secured their maiden Super Rugby title with a 20-3 win in Wellington‚ New Zealand‚ on Saturday. The Hurricanes are the fifth new winners of Super Rugby in the last six years following the success of the Reds‚ the Chiefs‚ the Waratahs and the Highlanders.The victory was particularly sweet for grizzled No8 Victor Vito‚ who became the ninth Hurricane to become a centurion in Super Rugby.It was‚ however‚ flyhalf Beauden Barrett who delivered a master class in the wet as he applied pressure on the scoreboard and territorially on the visitors. He contributed 15 of his team's points in appalling conditions.That‚ backed up by solid defence proved the cornerstones to the Hurricanes' victory. That defence helped render the Lions scoreless in the second half. In the half hour leading up to the start the icy 50km/h wind and the accompanying rain intensified. It meant the Lions playing into the breeze in the first half had to take great care when weighting their kicks. They struggled at first but gradually they found their range and applied the squeeze on Hurricanes' receivers.Unsurprisingly however the hosts came flying out of the blocks and held the territorial advantage. They had the Lions on the back foot but only had a Barrett penalty to show for their early endeavour. They could have been further ahead had flank Brad Shield not knocked on before Barrett perfectly dabbed ahead for wing Corey Jane to collect and 'score'.As it turned out the 33-year old had to wait 15 minutes before he got onto the score sheet. With their rush defence fully operational the Hurricanes applied near unbearable pressure on the Lions' ball carriers. With little time to master the wet ball they were candidates for calamity and when centre Lionel Mapoe tried to grubber from inside his 22 the Hurricanes struck. The kick found the arm of the 33-year old Jane who did well to gain control of the greasy ball before breaking free of the Lions' defence.The Hurricanes would have drawn inspiration from the inclusion of captain Dane Coles who missed the semifinal and was a doubtful starter for this game. His rib injury forced him off the field in the 44th minute but he miraculously returned a few minutes later.The hosts were typically unremitting on defence with Ardie Savea and the appropriately named Shields key blockers among the forwards. It meant the Lions received ball and tackler at the same time which proved fertile ground for handling errors.The Lions however showed resolve under suffocating pressure. Jantjies converted a penalty in the 25th minute which got them on the board but earlier he missed one from further out. The Lions could have had another but eschewed the opportunity at goal by opting for another scrum which resulted in the ultimate insult. They got shoved back and the Hurricanes got a reprieving penalty.When the players emerged from the tunnel for the second half the sheets of rain that pelted them in the first half relented for the 10 minutes in the second. The Lions however still had the breeze at the back but TJ Perenara used it to his advantage when he hoisted a high one on Courtnall Skosan who failed to gather and placed Franco Mostert in an offside position.The Lions continued to put up a fight but their graft was undone when Barrett‚ as alert as ever‚ got first to the bouncing ball following a scrambled line-out.Scorers Hurricanes (20) - Tries: Corey Jane‚ Beauden Barrett. Conversions: Beauden Barrett (2). Penalties: Barrett (2). Lions (3) - Penalty: Elton Jantjies.FULL TIME - The Hurricanes are Super Rugby champions! #HURvLIO#SuperRugby— Super Rugby (@SuperRugby) August 6, 2016junkTMG Digital/TMG Sport

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