All Blacks legend Dan Carter added to his trophy collection after helping his boyhood Canterbury club Southbridge win the Coleman Shield for the second successive season.
Carter started at flyhalf as Southbridge claimed a 40-32 victory over Waihora, after trailing 24-22 at half-time in the final of the Ellesmere senior club competition, the first division of club rugby in Canterbury.
It was the first time that Carter had won the Coleman Shield trophy, adding to an already stellar 19-year career which has seen him the World Cup, Super Rugby, Tri-Nations and Rugby Championship.
The three-time World Player of the Year was playing in just his third match for the club this season – and sixth in his career. His commitments to the All Blacks and franchises had prevented him from making more appearances.
‘It was tough. I was absolutely blowing – almost walking at some stages of that game,’ Carter said after the match.
‘Good spring rugby, nice and open, a lot of great tries by Hora – they were awesome today, they really stuck it to us, but our guys showed a lot of self-belief to come back in the second half, so really proud – a big night at the club tonight I’m picking.
‘There’s a lot of character in this team. It was exactly the same last week in the semifinal, we were down and going into the second half we needed to find a lot of inspiration to come back and come away with the win.
The last two weeks have been awesome – it just goes to show the character and how much this team means to each of the players. It’s a real community out here, we come together and we live for these Saturday afternoons. To get to the end of a season like this and come away with the Coleman Shield – pretty proud.
‘Most of the guys I grew up playing with are in the crowd with a few beers down them already making all the noise on the sideline. A lot of relatives, friends and people I went to school with.
For what’s been a difficult year for a lot of people, especially in this community, to have something to distract them or take their mind of it like rugby is pleasing and I’m just happy to be a part of it.’