Bryan Habana’s swerving run in the 82nd minute of the 2007 final against the Sharks is one of the most dramatic endings in Super Rugby history, writes JEREMY PROOME.
What added to the drama, was that Habana had taken out Sharks fullback Percy Montgomery mid-air in the opening minutes of the match, something for which, arguably, he should have received a yellow card, if not a red.
The Bulls and Sharks were easily the best teams in the competition, overcoming the heavyweights in the form of the Blues and Crusaders to reach the climactic Durban finale.
The two teams exchanged tries within the first 20 minutes of the match, with Pierre Spies scoring for the Bulls and JP Pietersen crossing over for the home side.
The whole game looked extremely tight, and but after some duelling penalties from Montgomery and Derick Hougaard, Sharks replacement lock Albert van den Berg sent the Durban crowd wild in the 77th minute, with was thought to be a match-winning try.
It wasn’t to be though, as the man who was to go on to be the top try-scorer of the World Cup in a few months' time, cut through the Sharks defence following a lengthy counter-attack from the Bulls.
The desperation of the Sharks’ defence saw players overcommit to Habana, leaving a massive hole in the centre of the field for him to jet through.
While still one point behind, the 83rd-minute conversion from Hougaard was an inevitability from in front of the posts, which rounded off one of the most spirited comebacks and heart-wrenching defeats that the tournament had ever produced.
Sharks – 15 Percy Montgomery, 14 Frans Steyn, 13 Waylon Murray, 12 Brad Barritt, 11 JP Pietersen, 10 Butch James, 9 Ruan Pienaar, 8 Ryan Kankowski, 7 AJ Venter, 6 Jacques Botes, 5 Johann Muller, 4 Johan Ackermann, 3 BJ Botha, 2 John Smit (c), 1 Deon Carstens.
Subs: 16 Bismarck du Plessis, 17 Tendai Mtawarira, 18 Albert van den Berg, 19 Warren Britz, 20 Bob Skinstad, 21 Rory Kockott, 22 Adrian Jacobs.
Bulls – 15 Johan Roets, 14 Akona Ndungane, 13 JP Nel, 12 Wynand Olivier, 11 Bryan Habana, 10 Derick Hougaard, 9 Fourie du Preez, 8 Pierre Spies, 7 Wikus van Heerden, 6 Pedrie Wannenburg, 5 Victor Matfield, 4 Bakkies Botha, 3 Rayno Gerber, 2 Gary Botha, 1 Gurthrö Steenkamp.
Subs: 16 Jaco Engels, 17 Danie Thiart, 18 Danie Rossouw, 19 Derick Kuun, 20 Heini Adams, 21 Morné Steyn, 22 Jaco van der Westhuyzen.
Photo: Duif du Tout/Getty Images