An all-or-nothing surge from George Moala snatched victory for the Blues in the last minute of the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens final.
The Blues’ “nothing to lose mantra” won them a Brisbane Global Rugby Tens title after a last-minute try sunk the valiant Hurricanes 10-7 in the tournament final.
George Moala was the man of the moment, urging his side to eschew a penalty goal to chase a winning try.
A quick tap and sweeping movement to the wing rewarded the Blues with a championship-winning finish.
“He’s a guy that doesn’t say much but he likes to lead with his actions and there was a moment he took things on himself,” said Blues captain Jimmy Tupou.
“He really went for it. That’s just been a how we’ve played the last couple of days.
“We’ve had a crack, nothing to lose. It was an awesome feeling.”
It had been a successful weekend for the Kiwi teams who made up three of the four semi-finalists in front of 19,326 people in Brisbane.
The Hurricanes were a surprise packet and nearly had the championship in the bag after Alex Fidow scored an early try from a clever lineout move.
Julian Savea was one of the faces of the tournament and he was just seconds from touching the trophy before the opportunity was snatched from within his grasp.
Then Akira Ioane and Moala struck in a matter of minutes to break the Hurricanes hearts.
Young winger Caleb Clarke made it a double night of celebration for the Blues when he was presented with the player of the tournament award.
He topped the tryscoring tally with five but coach Tana Umaga saw positives from all his under-20 talent.
“When the All Blacks come back in, they move on. What it’s done is give us an insight into their ability to play at this level,” Umaga said.
“The level is pretty high (in Tens), the hits are still there, the physicality really came out.
“They withstood that pretty well.”
Earlier, the host city crowned a new team of champions after the Queensland Women’s team scored a knife-edge 10-5 win against New South Wales in the Brisbane Global Rugby Tens final against New South Wales.
Two moments of individual brilliance from Brisbane teenager, player of the tournament Alysia Fakaosilea, ripped the inaugural title from NSW’s grasp.
With the scores level at 5-5, Fakaosilea forced a turnover after a crushing tackle on NSW speedster Olivia Brooks.
She then backed up Zahara Temara for the match-winning try.
“This means everything,” Fakaosilea said.
By any on-field measure, the Tens was a roaring success.
From the highlight reel thrills of the women’s games on Friday night to the mind boggling-depth of the New Zealand teams’ production lines, there was something in it for every fan.
And there were encouraging signs from the Reds who shocked the Chiefs in the qualifying final.
Each year powerhouses the Crusaders and the Blues unearth new talent to replenish their stocks of proven international stars and this year should be no different.
Clarke was the talking point for the Auckland side.
The locomotive former New Zealand under-20s winger was the leading tryscorer through the pool stage of the tournament with five five-pointers.
“Everyone’s working hard and emptying the tank,” Clarke said after the Blues’ 29-7 pool win against the Rebels.
“We’re enjoying the space and everyone has a chance to express themselves.
“All I do is get the ball and put it down.”
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