Lining up a penultimate season game at home, the Crusaders have a chance to secure another title when they play the match of the weekend in Super Rugby Aotearoa. A possible result that would see the Crusaders seal title number four-in-a-row. Wow.
Could it happen….. although, if the Highlanders could ever put the proverbial ‘spanner in the worx’ then, this is the perfect weekend to do it.
So don’t hand over the award which is [so often] photographed in pre-game build-up just yet NZ Rugby. Aaron Mauger and his ‘Landers have plenty of reasons to put the pause button on any assumption that the Crusaders seal title number four by dinner time Sunday.
Losing would then mean the Crusaders have to travel north to Auckland the following weekend, in what then might be seen as a competition finale.
Not what the champions plan on that occurring but wouldn’t it be the ‘cherry on the top’ of a magnificent Super Rugby Aotearoa; one drawn from the ashes of a dismantled regulation season.
Match of the Weekend #CRUvHIG
A win for the Southern men would be well earned. If they can defeat their biggest foe that is.
Because a focussed Crusaders team – within reach of another trophy – under the rarely beaten Scott Robertson management, is a ‘hard nut to crack’.
— 1 NEWS – Sport (@1NewsSportNZ) August 5, 2020
Not many are thinking that it is a probable upset. No insult to the challengers of course, it is just….this is the Crusaders we are talking about!
Could it be. Fourth times a charm.
They are a side full of champions. A team that is full of players who are imprinted with calmness under pressure. Richie Mo’unga called it “a bone-deep ability”, and a side more than ready to accept the challenge.
Yet in the local derby matches, few results are ever ensured. While the Crusaders are one side who has captured several bonus points, most fixtures are decidedly close on the scoresheet. So if the visitors can hold the three-time champions to within a score at the death, anything could happen.
And that is why the fans are back. A sold-out Orangetheory Stadium, and a huge audience watching on SkySport meaning it is surely the match of the weekend.
Could it be….. Crusaders seal title against Highlanders at home?
Only losing once over the opening eight rounds of Super Rugby Aotearoa, the hosts are the team to beat. So could it be?
No predictions from Last Word on Sport. Only estimations, scenarios or even, contemplations of what might be. Only the 46 men selected to play on Sunday, can for certain determine that result.
One element is history. These two sides always put on a ‘classic’. A true local derby for bragging rights over your closest neighbors. Battle for the Mainland.
Imagine if the scores were tied after 80 minutes? New Zealand Rugby fans would then witness the first-ever ‘Golden Point’ result. First team to score wins – meaning if the Crusaders earned the win, the title is theirs.
That would make 2020 even more memorable than it already is.
So plenty of scenarios can be contemplated. A Sevu Reece try, a pushover Highlanders scrum, a quick play of the ball from Aaron Smith, or Crusaders skipper Codie Taylor (see main image) taking the ball off a George Bridge breakout. It all makes for another wonderful weekend of Super Rugby Aoteoroa.
Yes, the possibility that the Crusaders seal title number four is probable yet, the odds are too close to call.
Don’t bet your house on it but, maybe a flutter at the TAB that there could be another 50 or 60 point cliffhanger match. That is a much safer (and enjoyable) option.
Crusaders v Highlanders – Saturday, August 9. 3:30pm, Christchurch
“Main photo credit”
Embed from Getty Images