Lifting the Super Rugby trophy in front of a packed Suncorp Stadium was especially sweet for Reds captain James Horwill after being part of the Queensland outfit's remarkable turnaround in recent seasons.
Just two years ago the Reds finished in second-last position in Super Rugby - the sixth consecutive year in which they had failed to break out of the bottom three in the competition - and silverware seemed a long way away.
However, the last two seasons have seen an amazing revival at the once-dominant Australian franchise which made the hard-fought victory over the brave Crusaders all the sweeter for the Reds skipper.
He commented: "It means a lot to me, having been here at the lowest point and now being here at the highest point - I am lost for words, I don't know how to describe this feeling.
"You always dream about what it would feel like to win a championship and when it does happen it's sort of a surreal experience. To do that in a short amount of time is pretty special, and to be a part of that, it's pretty cool to be honest," said Horwill.
The Reds showed great character to hang on for a tense five-point victory over a determined Crusaders outfit who were looking to write a fairy tale of their own after a remarkable campaign in which they were forced to play everywhere but home thanks to the earthquakes that rocked Christchurch earlier in the year.
Horwill was quick to recognise what the team from Canterbury have achieved this year and he saluted them as worthy opponents in the intense Final.
"We knew the Crusaders would just keep coming, they are a quality side. What they have achieved this year through such adversity is a massive compliment to their whole organisation. I think our hats have to be taken off to them - they are one helluva side," he said.
Reds coach Ewan McKenzie explained that the disciplined defence his team showed in holding out a fierce opening onslaught from the visitors had been crucial in the massive decider.
"We knew it was going to be very intense for the first twenty minutes and it was a matter of not conceding points, which is pretty much what happened, and we knew that we had to keep pushing through and keep at it.
"We were confident across eighty minutes that we had great impact off our bench and we were confident that fatigue would play a role," said the Reds boss.
Crusaders skipper Richie McCaw admitted that his team were beaten by a team that simply took their opportunities better to secure a deserved victory.
He said: "I think I said before the game that it would come down to one or two opportunities and that is the way it turned out. We had a couple of lapses and they made us pay, I guess that is what Finals footy is about.
"They got that try ahead and we had to try and play a little bit too much, it got a bit messy and we didn't look after the ball as well as we could have. Turnovers are where you get the broken defences and can make teams pay and that is what happened. It came down to one or two things and we ended up on the wrong side of it," he added.
McCaw was obviously disappointed that his side could not clinch an eighth Super Rugby title after all the hardships that the people of Christchurch have been through, but he was in no mood to make excuses for the fact that they were beaten on the day.
"We have had a tough old year, but we won't use that as an excuse. We turned up to play tonight and to win but every time we have taken the field this year we have drawn inspiration from the people back home in Christchurch," said McCaw.
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