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Reds rule over Crusaders
Genia try propels Queensland to first league title
Queensland Reds have been crowned Super Rugby champions after edging out Crusaders 18-13 in a thrilling final at Suncorp Stadium.
The Australian franchise claimed their first title thanks to a moment of individual brilliance from scrum-half Will Genia, who jinked his way to a match-winning try with 10 minutes remaining.
Crusaders, who were vying for their eighth championship, had previously led through Dan Carter's 13-point haul, however it took something special from Genia to deny them.
After 30 scoreless minutes, the match burst into life just before half-time.
Quade Cooper put the first points on the board courtesy of a long-range penalty, however the Crusaders quickly hit back through a sublime individual score from Carter.
The New Zealand fly-half attacked a flat Reds defence, pierced it with an inch-perfect grubber kick, before collecting himself and cruising under the posts.
His own conversion extended the lead to 7-3, although another Cooper penalty reduced the gap to a mere one point at the interval.
Crusaders thought they had scored their second try moments after the restart, however a trip to the TMO confirmed that Brad Thorn had been held up on the try-line.
Carter eased some of the Crusaders' disappointment with a penalty moments later, but Queensland then produced their best attacking move of the game to retake the lead.
Cooper fed a rampaging Digby Ioane, who hit the line at pace to beat Sonny Bill Williams and Tom Marshall and touch down behind the uprights.
Cooper's conversion put the Reds 13-10 ahead, albeit with Carter swiftly levelling the scores after Richie McCaw landed a huge hit on Beau Robinson to earn a penalty.
The moment of the match, though, came with 69 minutes on the clock when Super Rugby player of the year Genia scored what turned out to be the title-winning score.
The Reds scrum-half picked up the ball inside his own half with seemingly nowhere to turn, yet seemingly set off on a mazy run which kept on going and going before he eventually fended off Sean Maitland to get over.
Cooper, clearly feeling the pressure, missed the ensuing conversion, as well as a late penalty, to keep Crusaders in the hunt with time ticking away.
The New Zealanders threw everything they had at Queensland in the dying stages but couldn't find a way through, meaning the Reds became the first Australian winners of the competition since the ACT Brumbies in 2004.
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Mrs Clutterbuck says...
And this was simply a rehearsal of the RWC final in NZ later this year (NZ v OZ). A NZ side with far more attacking fluency, leading in points up to the final stages, then losing concentration and making dumb mistakes to lose the match. Congrats to the Reds!
Posted 15:26 9th July 2011
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