Counties Manukau have secured promotion to the NPC Premiership, after beating Otago 41-16 in the Championship final.
The win secures Counties Manukau's first piece of silverware since winning the old second division in 1993.
Man of the match was Counties halfback August Pulu, who scored two of his team's five tries - it's no wonder that Chiefs coach Dave Rennie made sure he had him signed up for next season a few months ago.
It was the first time Counties have ever hosted a provincial final and 12,000 people, the biggest crowd since the days of Jonah Lomu and Joeli Vidiri, turned out to watch this game.
They'll go away celebrating a historic night for a province that the NZRU were trying to force into the Heartland Championships a few years ago.
This victory is testimony as to why that was such a bad decision, not just because they now sit among the top seven provinces in the country, but also because they're a union that could be promoting up to a dozen players to Super Rugby.
For Otago, who were facing extinction earlier this year because of financial problems, it was a magnificent campaign from them, despite this loss.
Tony Brown, in his first year as the team's coach, built a squad largely bereft of super stars and taking them this far in the Championship is a stellar achievement.
True, he was able to call in three current All Blacks tonight, Adam Thomson, Ben Smith and Tamati Ellison, but their combined efforts weren't good enough against a fired up Steelers side.
Counties put their mark on the game after just three minutes with Sherwin Stowers making a superb break down the left wing and when he passed inside to August Pulu, the halfback was left with the simple job of running the rest of the way for the try.
Glenn Dickson pulled three points back for Otago through a penalty in the ninth minute, but Baden Kerr resumed the seven-point advantage 10 minutes later.
Thomson, in perhaps his last game on New Zealand soil, scored a try for Otago shortly after and they took the lead when Dickson landed his second penalty in the 25th minute.
But Mark Selwyn exploited weak Otago defence in the middle of the field to give the home side their second try and give the Steelers a 20-13 lead at the break.
Dickson made it a four-point game 10 minutes into the second half, but Counties had one hand on the trophy when Pulu bagged his second try of the night on the hour mark.
The penultimate try was scored by Tim Nanai-Williams 10 minutes from time, while David Bason got in on the act just before the end.
Counties Manukau 41 (August Pulu 2, Mark Selwyn, Tim Nanai-Williams, David Bason tries; Baden Kerr 4 cons, 3 pens, Sherwin Stowers con) Otago 16 (Adam Thomson try; Glenn Dickson 2 pens, con) HT: 20-13
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