Crusaders’ Sam Whitelock avoids a tackle. Photo by Michael Bradley / AFP

Super Rugby final: Crusaders win yet another title!

The Crusaders secured a seventh straight Super Rugby title after fighting back to beat the Chiefs 25-20 in a thriller on Saturday.


Crusaders’ Sam Whitelock avoids a tackle. Photo by Michael Bradley / AFP

The Crusaders went into this game on the hunt for a seventh Super Rugby title and also in search of a perfect farewell for outgoing coach Scott Robertson.

Technically this was a seventh successive success for the Crusaders if you include 2020 and 2021 when they won a domestic competition for New Zealand’s five teams during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Having lifted silverware with the Crusaders each season since he took charge in 2017, Robertson could not have wished for a more fitting farewell as he heads to join the All Blacks.

The Chiefs were bidding for their first Super Rugby title since 2013, having lost just once all season, but when it mattered most they ultimately couldn’t get the job done.

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The Crusaders led 15-10 at the break, having enjoyed dominance in the first half largely due to a high penalty count from the home side that proved extremely costly.

However, there was a big shift in momentum just after the interval when the Chiefs orchestrated two beautiful tries to suddenly go into a 20-10 lead, although two missed conversions always threatened to haunt them.

As it was, in the 73rd minute, Crusaders veteran Codie Taylor burst over the tryline from the back of a powerful lineout maul, and the conversion from Richie Mo’unga put the visitors into a crucial 22-20 lead.

That try came just after Sam Cane was sent to the sin bin – becoming the third Chiefs players to receive a yellow card in the final – and from there the Crusaders held on for victory, with Mo’unga knocking over one final penalty to seal the deal.

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How the Chiefs and Crusaders lined up

Chiefs: 15 Shaun Stevenson, 14 Emoni Narawa, 13 Alex Nankivell, 12 Anton Lienert-Brown, 11 Etene Nanai-Seturo, 10 Damian McKenzie, 9 Brad Weber o-(co-captain), 8 Luke Jacobson, 7 Sam Cane (co-captain), 6 Pita Gus Sowakula, 5 Tupou Vaa’i, 4 Brodie Retallick, 3 George Dyer, 2 Samisoni Taukei’aho, 1 Aidan Ross.
Replacements: 16 Tyrone Thompson, 17 Ollie Norris, 18 John Ryan, 19 Naitoa Ah Kuoi, 20 Samipeni Finau, 21 Cortez Ratima, 22 Josh Ioane, 23 Rameka Poihipi..

Crusaders: 15 Will Jordan, 14 Dallas McLeod, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 Leicester Fainga’anuku, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Mitch Drummond, 8 Christian Lio-Willie, 7 Tom Christie, 6 Sione Havili Talitui, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Scott Barrett (captain), 3 Oli Jager, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Tamaiti Williams.
Replacements: 16 George Bell, 17 Kershawl Sykes-Martin, 18 Reuben O’Neill, 19 Quinten Strange, 20 Dom Gardiner, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Fergus Burke, 23 Chay Fihaki.

Date: Saturday, June 24
Venue: Waikato Stadium, Hamilton
Kick-off: 19.05 (07.05 GMT)
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe (New Zealand)
Assistant referees: Angus Gardner (Australia), Nic Berry (Australia)
TMO: Brendon Pickerill (New Zealand)

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The Crusaders are champions again. Photo: Twitter