Reds 18-13 Crusaders, Super Rugby Final, July 9
Captain Horwill proud of his side
ESPNscrum Staff
July 9, 2011
Reds captain James Horwill salutes the crowd, Reds v Crusaders, Super Rugby Final, Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia, July 9, 2011
Reds skipper James Horwill salutes the crowd at full-time after their historic win in Brisbane © Getty Images

Reds captain James Horwill praised his side following their 18-13 win over the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final.

The Reds finished a remarkable season by edging the Crusaders in a pulsating game at the Suncorp Stadium on Saturday. The Reds finished top of the pool stage and Horwill, speaking in front of a record crowd of 52,113, believes the final has proved any doubters wrong.

"We knew the Crusaders would just keep coming," the Wallabies lock said. "I don't know what to say, I'm lost for words. All year people have doubted us saying we couldn't do go the distance but we have shown we can do it.

"It means the world to me to lead this side. We never gave in. We're just like a big family. We dig deep for each other and I think that was evident tonight against a very good Crusaders side."

Quade Cooper has been at the heart of everything the Reds have done brilliantly this year and the fly-half played a key role in the final. However, Cooper, who acted as the decoy for Will Genia's superb individual effort, was more interested in hailing the contribution of inside centre Anthony Faingaa.

"So far this is the greatest feeling of my career," the Wallabies No.10 said. "Just listen to the crowd. Our character is huge. It shows where we have come from. A lot of people wrote us off and this is reward for all of those who have stuck with this. There are no words to describe how proud I am of us. Faingaa led from the front in defence and that's where we built our platform."

Crusaders captain Richie McCaw paid tribute to the victors but was suitably proud of his side. The Crusaders have been forced to play every match away from home following the devastating earthquake which rocked Christchurch in February only to come up agonisingly short in the final.

"It was an epic final," the flanker said. "It came down to one or two opportunities. They made us pay and that is what footie is all about. The Reds scored their try and they took advantage of turnovers and made us pay. It came down to one or two things.

"We are definitely proud of the way the guys have stuck to the task all year. We were ready to play the final but we just weren't good enough. I guess in some ways we are pleased with the season, but we are bitterly disappointed at losing out."

McCaw went on to single out the Crusaders fans for special praise. "Hopefully we've done you proud and put a bit of a smile on your face. Every time we take the field we do it for you guys and I know there's some tough times at home but the way we stick together will see us through in the end."

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