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A match to make you feel good about sport

Welcome distraction ... the Super Rugby final was more than a match for the Olympic action in London.

Welcome distraction ... the Super Rugby final was more than a match for the Olympic action in London. Photo: Getty Images

FOR the sake of one's sanity, the Super Rugby final could not have been better timed.

You can only be baffled by the Olympic Games for so long, before screaming, ''Enough is enough!'' There are only so many times you can endure badminton slackers attempting to outdo each other by how well they can serve their shuttlecock straight into the net.

Enough sleep has been lost trying to fathom how that Club Med of a silly pastime - beach volleyball - actually made the cut. As for the stream-of-consciousness equestrian commentary by Lucinda Jane Prior-Palmer nee Green, well, it just puts you one step closer to the men in white jackets arriving and a sudden visit to the funny farm.

You turn to rugby for some relief. And what do you get? You attempt to find out what exactly is going on in that other lunatic asylum otherwise known as Waratahland, and you soon ask yourself if you've instead accidentally walked on to the set where they're filming a Monty Python skit. You know the one.

''Is this the right room for an argument?''

''I've told you once.''

''No you haven't.''

''Yes I have.''

''No you didn't.''

''Yes I did.''

On and on.

You switch channels, and at last there's something to watch that provides some faith in the real world. The Chiefs and Sharks are at each other, and everyone has got their perspectives in the right order. They are fighting for a noble cause, the trophy really sparkles, there are no short cuts, they are endlessly fearless, and their expressions shows this really means something. And with it comes rousing, encouraging moments.

First up, you have to admire the victors. A bunch of scrubbers came good, primarily through smart coaching, excellent selection and intense pride in their product. Hint, hint, Waratahs. The Chiefs' elevation from 10th spot last season to first-time Super Rugby victors on Saturday night is such an admirable feat.

Adding to the occasion was that those who came second weren't sobbing about how they had let their family down. They were instead having enough problems just keeping their eyes open, after two weeks overcoming the most excruciating of jet lag traumas, resulting from endless trips travelling to and from Australia, South Africa and New Zealand as they advanced through the finals until qualifying for the Super Rugby big night. The Sharks' effort to hang in for so long was as impressive as what the Chiefs had achieved in bringing delight to their region.

With it came a touch of tradition and history, with the famous Mooloo bells, which has been at the core of Waikato rugby for so long, ringing around the ground. Sadly, the only familiar sound missing was that of ''Possum'' and his trusty chainsaw, which for decades at the Chiefs headquarters went into grinding, screeching action any time the opposition kicked for goal or when the home team had scored a try.

Also, this triumph will enliven a city that has suffered unnecessary barbs over the years. Hamiltonians haven't yet got over former Wallabies fullback Chris Latham's complaint that their town was boring. It's not. They do have traffic lights which flash. And anyone - like me - who has been to Bloemfontein would argue otherwise. As one Irish rugby writer once summarised Bloem: ''The highlight of my trip was seeing a local reverse-park his car.''

All up, this final made you feel good about rugby again. But then reality hit once again. Some oaf reminds you the Waratahs, who are at the beck and call of a mysterious rugby subcommittee, might name their new coach this week. And with that comes hurtling back all the horrid memories of the endlessly embarrassing Moore Park blunders of the past six months. You can only shake your head, and say over and over again: ''Someone, anyone, give me strength.''

HuffPost Australia

Rugby World Cup 2015

Round 1
Sat, 19 SepTimes shown AEST
ENG 35vs FJI 11 Report Stats
TGA 10vs GEO 17 Report Stats
IRE 50vs CAN 7 Report Stats
Sun, 20 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 32vs JPN 34 Report Stats
FRA 32vs ITA 10 Report Stats
SAM 25vs USA 16 Report Stats
WAL 54vs URU 9 Report Stats
Mon, 21 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 26vs ARG 16 Report Stats
Wed, 23 SepTimes shown AEST
SCO 45vs JPN 10 Report Stats
Thu, 24 SepTimes shown AEST
AUS 28vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 38vs ROM 11 Report Stats
Fri, 25 SepTimes shown AEST
NZL 58vs NAM 14 Report Stats
Sat, 26 SepTimes shown AEST
ARG 54vs GEO 9 Report Stats
ITA 23vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sun, 27 SepTimes shown AEST
SAF 46vs SAM 6 Report Stats
ENG 25vs WAL 28 Report Stats
AUS 65vs URU 3 Report Stats
SCO 39vs USA 16 Report Stats
Mon, 28 SepTimes shown AEST
IRE 44vs ROM 10 Report Stats
Wed, 30 SepTimes shown AEST
TGA 35vs NAM 21 Report Stats
Fri, 02 OctTimes shown AEST
WAL 23vs FJI 13 Report Stats
FRA 41vs CAN 18 Report Stats
Sat, 03 OctTimes shown AEST
NZL 43vs GEO 10 Report Stats
SAM 5vs JPN 26 Report Stats
Sun, 04 OctTimes shown AEST
SAF 34vs SCO 16 Report Stats
ENG 13vs AUS 33 Report Stats
Mon, 05 OctTimes shown AEDT
ARG 45vs TGA 16 Stats
IRE 10vs ITA 6 Stats
Wed, 07 OctTimes shown AEDT
CAN 0vs ROM 0 02:45Leicester City Stadium
FJI 0vs URU 0 06:00stadium:mk
Thu, 08 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAF 0vs USA 0 02:45The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
NAM 0vs GEO 0 06:00Sand
Sat, 10 OctTimes shown AEDT
NZL 0vs TGA 0 06:00St James' Park
Sun, 11 OctTimes shown AEDT
SAM 0vs SCO 0 00:30St James' Park
AUS 0vs WAL 0 02:45Twic
ENG 0vs URU 0 06:00Manch
ARG 0vs NAM 0 22:00Leicester City Stadium
Mon, 12 OctTimes shown AEDT
ITA 0vs ROM 0 00:30Sand
FRA 0vs IRE 0 02:45MilS
USA 0vs JPN 0 06:00Kholm
View All Fixtures
Round 2
Sun, 18 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinB 0vs RUpA 0 02:00Twic
WinC 0vs RUpD 0 06:00MilS
WinD 0vs RUpC 0 23:00MilS
Mon, 19 OctTimes shown AEDT
WinA 0vs RUpB 0 02:00Twic
Sun, 25 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF1 0vs WQF2 0 02:00Twic
Mon, 26 OctTimes shown AEDT
WQF3 0vs WQF4 0 03:00Twic
Sat, 31 OctTimes shown AEDT
LSF1 0vs LSF2 0 07:00The Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park
Sun, 01 NovTimes shown AEDT
WSF1 0vs WSF2 0 03:00Twic
View All Fixtures
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
Australia 3 3 0 0 97 13
Wales 3 3 0 0 58 13
England 3 1 2 0 1 6
Fiji 3 0 3 0 -49 0
Uruguay 2 0 2 0 -107 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
South Africa 3 2 1 0 56 11
Scotland 3 2 1 0 40 10
Japan 3 2 1 0 -12 8
Samoa 3 1 2 0 -52 4
USA 2 0 2 0 -32 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
New Zealand 3 3 0 0 87 14
Argentina 3 2 1 0 64 10
Tonga 3 1 2 0 -22 6
Georgia 3 1 2 0 -71 4
Namibia 2 0 2 0 -58 0
View all
Rugby World Cup 2015
Team P W L D +/- Pts
France 3 3 0 0 72 14
Ireland 2 2 0 0 77 10
Italy 2 1 1 0 -17 4
Canada 3 0 3 0 -71 1
Romania 2 0 2 0 -61 0
View all

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