Rugby: How the South Africans reacted to the Super Rugby final

Elton Jantjies was thought to have been outclassed by opposite 10 Beauden Barrett last night, according to South African media outlets. Photo / Photosport
Elton Jantjies was thought to have been outclassed by opposite 10 Beauden Barrett last night, according to South African media outlets. Photo / Photosport

South African media have lauded the individual impact of Beauden Barrett and the steel of the Hurricanes defence as they come to grips with the Lions falling short in last night's Super Rugby final.

News outlets in the Lions' home city of Johannesburg offered no excuses for their side's 20-3 loss despite the horrendous weather conditions and travel factor in having to fly to the New Zealand capital.

Writing in the Johannesburg Star, Jacques van der Westhuyzen said the Lions, playing in their first final, "dominated many areas of the final at a wet, cold and windy Westpac Stadium, but they could find no way through a resolute Hurricanes defence".

Popular website Sport24.co.za agreed that the "atrocious conditions dictated the outcome" but said Barrett had outperformed rival first five Elton Jantjies and that had been a key difference.

"It was a kicking duel Barrett won as he kept returning the Hurricanes to point-scoring positions despite the Lions dominating territory," said the site.

"When the Lions used their big men to ram a pathway forward in the first half they were stopped in their tracks time and again as Brad Shields and Victor Vito, in his 100th game, led a bruising defence.

"If the Lions went wide they were rattled by the Hurricanes line speed".

Writing in the South African Times, Liam de Calme also referred to the bruising Hurricanes defence and influence of Barrett.

"With their rush defence fully operational the Hurricanes applied near unbearable pressure on the Lions' ball carriers," he wrote.

"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.
"The hosts were typically unremitting on defence with Ardie Savea and the appropriately named Shields key blockers among the forwards."

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