Crusaders win Super 14 final in eerie mist

Saturday, May 27, 2006

The Canterbury Crusaders won the inaugural Super 14 title, downing the Wellington Hurricanes 19 points to 12 at Jade Stadium, Christchurch. The game was dominated by surreal conditions – a thick fog made viewing the game from the top of the stands impossible. Only one try was scored in the mistake-riddled game, to Crusaders centre Casey Laulala.

Both sides were consulted prior to the match on whether the final should be postponed, as a thick fog engulfed the sold-out Jade Stadium. Patrons in the South Stand turned their attention to the stadium screen behind them, as they could not see anything through the mist. The television audience was in a similar position, with most of the pictures being shrouded in a white cloud. Sky Sports commentators split the commentary between themselves and a sideline commentator, as they could not see the other side of the pitch from the commentary box.

Referee Jonathon Kaplan and the players of both the Crusaders and Hurricanes were asked if they wished to continue at half time, there was apparently a clear view that everyone wanted to continue with the final. The final score was 19 points to 12, a converted try being the difference. For the Crusaders, it was the team’s sixth championship in 11 years. Despite the eerie conditions, jubilant celebrations followed after full-time.

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