The Crusaders have won an unprecedented 10th Super Rugby title, completing their second three-peat.
The two-time defending champions have beaten the Jaguares 19-3 in the final in Christchurch, despite the Argentinian side having the greater share of possession and territory.
Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor scored the only try of the match, while first-five Richie Mo’unga kicked four penalties and a conversion.
Captain Sam Whitelock spoke of his immense pride in all of his players after being handed the trophy for the third straight season.
“It’s been a massive year. We’ve used a massive amount of guys, but everyone stepped up when they needed to,” Whitelock told Sky Sport.
Whitelock will miss the 2020 Super Rugby season to play in Japan, but he’ll return in 2021, unlike a number of his team-mates, who’ve played for the Crusaders for the final time.
He has paid tribute to the departing players, including the likes of Kieran Read, Owen Franks, Matt Todd and Jordan Taufua.
“It’s been a little bit of an emotional year. Different times it’s gone up and gone down.
“But all those guys going they’re going to have an awesome time and they’re always welcome back.
“Whether they’ve been here for one game or 150-odd it’s cool that they know that they’re a Crusader for life.”
It was the Jaguares who opened the scoring, with Joaquin Diaz Bonilla kicking a penalty in the 16th minute as the visitors took advantage of an error-ridden start from the hosts.
But nine minutes later the Crusaders pounced.
Matt Todd ripped the ball free from an opponent’s hands, found Whitelock, who galloped down the touchline before finding Taylor with an inside ball.
After being halted momentarily he made his way over the line to score to the left of the uprights.
Mo’unga converted and the Crusaders took the lead, which they never relinquished.
But the Jaguares had their opportunities either side of halftime.
Matias Moroni was denied on the tryline by David Havili and Bryn Hall after a great offload by the outstanding Pablo Matera, who was duly named the man of the match.
Instead Mo’unga kicked a penalty with time up on the clock to give the Crusaders a 10-3 halftime lead.
Shortly after the break Moroni again found space on the right wing, this time from a chip kick, but his inside pass was knocked on with the tryline beckoning.
The hosts then controlled proceedings with Mo’unga kicking a further three penalties to ensure the Super Rugby trophy remains in Christchurch.
Published at Sat, 06 Jul 2019 10:00:40 +0000
Source: Perfect 10 for the Crusaders