The red and black dynasty reigns supreme – again. Six titles in six years. Thirteen in total. This one is sure to leave lingering scars for the Blues, too.
Given that formidable record we should not be surprised but coach Scott Roberton’s Crusaders produced as clinical a wet weather finals performance as you will witness to leave an initially feverish 43,000-strong crowd longing for a hot toddy and a romantic novel with a guaranteed happy ending.
Locals flocked to Eden Park, selling this highly-anticipated finale out in five hours, in spite of conditions to ride a wave of hope that Leon MacDonald’s four-year evolution of the Blues was about to climax.
Blues 7-21 Crusaders
The Crusaders got it spot on. They were tactically superb, attacking the lineout as the Blues won just 9/19 off their own throw. Scott Barrett and Sam Whitelock were key to the aberration and arguably staked a claim to be the starting two locks come the first All Blacks test of the season.
Mo’unga was brilliant in the clutch moment, controlling the game really well. Elsewhere, Reece stood up, as did Fainga’anuku. It is a title to savour for the red and blacks!
Simply too good. The Crusaders are simply too good. Written off by some, they showed up tonight and were thoroughly worth their win. They attacked the lineout, and that was arguably a big part in the winning and losing of the game.
The Blues looked to fight back in the second half, but there was no way through the red and black wall as Sevu Reece scored just before full-time to seal the deal.