In a moment that will go down in the annals of New Zealand rugby history, Kelly Brazier delivered New Zealand a historic gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games with a piece of individual brilliance against Australia. With the scores locked at 12-12 in overtime, Brazier burst through the Australian defence and ran 80 metres to score the gold medal-winning try.
Thames Valley made history in the Heartland Championship by coming from the fourth qualifier position to claim their first Meads Cup title. After shocking top qualifiers Wanganui in the semifinal, the Swamp Foxes came back from 12-3 deficit against South Canterbury to lift the title with a strong second-half performance.
There’s nothing like finals footy and that saying rang true in the Mitre 10 Cup Premiership final between old rivals Auckland and Canterbury. After trailing 7-20 at the break, Auckland fought back to make it 26-26 after 80 minutes and force the game into extra-time. Auckland sealed their first Mitre 10 Cup title since 2007 when Leon Fukofuka went over to spark joyous celebrations among the 20,000-strong crowd at Eden Park.
The All Blacks Sevens joined the Black Ferns Sevens in winning gold at the Commonwealth Games by shutting out Fiji in the final. The Clark Laidlaw-coached side put on a defensive masterclass to keep Fiji try-less and secure the gold medal with a 14-0 win in the Gold Coast heat.
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One of the most memorable moments of the year happened off the pitch following Te Toiroa Tahuriorangi’s Test debut against Argentina in Nelson. It’s often said making the All Blacks is a realisation of a boyhood dream, and Tahuriorangi’s family displayed their pride in him by performing a heartfelt haka in the stands.
After coming out of retirement for one last season with the Black Ferns in 2018, hooker Fiao’o Faamausili made the perfect return with three tries as the Black Ferns defeated Australia 31-11 in front of a crowd of 27,000 at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
Down 0-15 after 23 minutes, the All Blacks waged an incredible comeback to snatch a 16-15 victory over England at Twickenham. It was superb display in the wet by the All Blacks and ensured they kept hold of the prized Hillary Shield.
After winning double gold at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games, the All Blacks Sevens and Black Ferns Sevens repeated the dose at the Sevens Rugby World Cup in San Francisco. The All Blacks Sevens crushed England 33-12 in the final to claim the crown while the Black Ferns Sevens completely shut out France 29-0 in a flawless display of sevens rugby.
The Crusaders made it back-to-back Investec Super Rugby titles with a comprehensive 37-18 win over the Lions in the final. It was the Crusaders ninth Super Rugby title and the first they had won on home soil since 2008.