Ross Roche
Senior sports writer
2 minute read
20 Jun 2022
1:39 pm

URC CEO Martin Anayi gives all-South African final the thumbs up

Ross Roche

The match saw a proper arm wrestle battled out, with the Stormers second half showing enough to edge the contest.

URC CEO Martin Anayi was thrilled with the all-SA final.. Picture: Carl Fourie/Gallo Images

United Rugby Championship (URC) CEO Martin Anayi was in a jubilant mood after the all-South African final saw the Stormers triumph over the Bulls in a tight final in Cape Town over the past weekend.

A lot has been said about the South African teams’ arrival in the competition, while there were talks that the final would be held in the country this year regardless of who the highest placed side in the final was.

That idea was then scrapped but then didn’t make a difference anyway as the second on the log Stormers ended up hosting the final.

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“It was a really special night. There was a big Cape Town audience, flags waving, a lot of kids and families in the audience, and for them to pull off the victory, it didn’t look like it in the first half, but they thoroughly deserved it,” said Anayi.

“They (Stormers) have delivered something special. We met the mayor and deputy mayor and the city has really got behind the event. Our teams pulled off a five-day turnaround and it’s really come off. What a fantastic venue, incredible city and deserving winners.”

Proper arm wrestle

In terms of the match, it was a proper arm wrestle that was battled out, with the Stormers second-half showing enough to edge the contest.

“It was finals rugby. It was tight and tense. But as a competition organiser, for the match to go down to the last pass, it could have gone either way, that’s the drama we like. To do it in front of a home crowd kind of makes it a bit sweeter for the competition,” said Anayi.

Former Springbok lock Victor Matfield was also full of praise for the competition, admitting that SA had produced a brilliant first campaign and that it would only get better going forward.

“It was just fantastic. What an evening it was. To be part of the URC is brilliant. I think everyone is buying into it, everyone is loving it, you saw the crowds. We can’t wait for next season, getting into the Heineken Cup is just going to be unbelievable,” said Matfield.