Champions again! Crusaders too good in Super Rugby Aotearoa final

The Crusaders have defended their Super Rugby Aotearoa title with a 24-13 win over the Chiefs in Christchurch. Thanks to early tries from Sevu Reece and Will Jordan, the Crusaders were never headed, the win adding another trophy to their burgeoning cabinet. Remarkably, they were two players down for much of the second half, with […]

Champions again! Crusaders too good in Super Rugby Aotearoa final

The Crusaders have defended their Super Rugby Aotearoa title with a 24-13 win over the Chiefs in Christchurch.

Thanks to early tries from Sevu Reece and Will Jordan, the Crusaders were never headed, the win adding another trophy to their burgeoning cabinet.

Remarkably, they were two players down for much of the second half, with both Reece and Codie Taylor spending time in the sin-bin. Yet the champs held firm, a Richie Mo’unga drop goal with just minutes left sealing the result.

A packed house was treated to an exhibition of the best of New Zealand rugby from both sides before the hosts secured a 12th Super Rugby title, a second in the domestic edition and a fifth in a row.

Reece and Jordan scored their tries in the first 16 minutes but thereafter the Crusaders – reduced to 13 men in the second half – had to rely on the boot of their fellow All Black, five-eighth Mo’unga, to keep the Chiefs at arm’s length.

Damian McKenzie scored all the points for the Chiefs, converting his own try and kicking two penalties, but the fullback will rue his usual accuracy from the tee deserting him for a period around halftime when he missed three shots at goal.

Source : The Roar More   

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Chiefs eye upset over Crusaders in Super Rugby decider

No team has ever beaten the Canterbury Crusaders at home in 24 post-season matches, let alone a final, but that is the task facing the Waikato Chiefs if they are to take the Super Rugby Aotearoa title away from Christchurch on Saturday. The Crusaders won the inaugural edition of the New Zealand competition last season […]

Chiefs eye upset over Crusaders in Super Rugby decider

No team has ever beaten the Canterbury Crusaders at home in 24 post-season matches, let alone a final, but that is the task facing the Waikato Chiefs if they are to take the Super Rugby Aotearoa title away from Christchurch on Saturday.

The Crusaders won the inaugural edition of the New Zealand competition last season without a final but the big red machine have claimed six of their record ten Super Rugby titles as hosts, with many of the finals not even close.

The Chiefs have already beaten the Crusaders once in Hamilton this year, however, and coach Clayton McMillan said his squad was heading south confident of what would be a major upset.

“On any given day, any team can be beaten, and we have proven that,” he said on Thursday.

“The Crusaders have set the benchmark for the competition and we respect they are a great side, but we have earned the right to be in the final and have a job to deliver on Saturday.”

(Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

McMillan, standing in for Warren Gatland this year while the former Wales coach carries out his British and Irish Lions duties, has overseen a remarkable turnaround at the Chiefs this season.

They battled back from 26-7 down at halftime to beat the Hurricanes in Wellington to snap an 11-match losing streak in Round 3 and did not lose again until last week, when they rested 11 players against the Auckland Blues.

Late penalties from the boot of Damian McKenzie decided the last three of the games in the five-match winning streak and the fleet-footed All Black returns to the starting line-up at fullback with Gatland’s son, Bryn, given the nod at flyhalf.

All Blacks skipper Sam Cane is a long-term injury casualty but the Chiefs pack will welcome back number eight Luke Jacobson from concussion, resulting in a shift to blindside for Fijian powerhouse Pita Gus Sowakula.

The Chiefs forwards will have to be at the top of their game to counter the home eight if they are to have any hope of a first win in Christchurch for five years and clinch a first Super Rugby title since their triumphs of 2012 and 2013.

Scott Robinson, who has led the Crusaders to four straight Super Rugby titles since taking over as coach, made only one change to his side from their last outing, bringing All Blacks centre Braydon Ennor back to the bench after a knee injury.

“Occasions like this are exactly what we play for, the chance to represent the people of our region on the big stage and play in front of our friends and family at home,” he said.

Source : The Roar More   

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