27 Oct 2012

Canterbury just too good for Auckland in rugby final

9:30 pm on 27 October 2012

Canterbury have convincingly won the ITM Cup premiership - domestic rugby's top title - for the fifth year in a row, beating Auckland 31-18 in Christchurch on Saturday night.

Auckland scored first but Canterbury went to the break 15-13 up and ran away with the match in the second half, conceding only a late consolation try to Auckland.

Earlier on Saturday, spectators ran onto the field in jubilation as East Coast snatched a last-gasp win over Wanganui to win the Heartland championship in Ruatoria.

Down 24-27 with time almost up, the home team scored out wide to win the final 29-27.

East Coast thus takes the Meads Cup, reversing last year's result between the same teams at the same ground.

Many in the crowd performed a mass haka to celebrate the victory, which took the light blues from cellar-dwellers two years ago - they lost eight out of eight games in the 2010 season - to Heartland champions for the first time.

On Friday night, Counties-Manukau beat Otago 41-16 in Pukekohe to win the ITM Cup championship and gain promotion to the premiership next year.