The Crusaders have won the recently set up Super Rugby competition in New Zealand involving all 5 New Zealand based franchises, Waikato Chiefs, Auckland Blues, Otago Highlanders and the Wellington Hurricanes.
Rugby in New Zealand came back before elsewhere across the World. It has been a fantastic competition with extremely close finishes with the Chiefs unfortunately coming out on the end of 9 defeats under new coach Warren Gatland. On a number of occasions the Chiefs were only beaten by less than 10 points.
Back to the Crusaders who had a bye in week one and then went on to win 8 of their next 9 games only being beaten by the Hurricanes. They face the Blues this weekend in the final round of the current competition with plenty of discussions ongoing as to the way rugby will look south of the equator in 2021.
Scott Robertson has been in charge over the last 4 years winning the Super Rugby title 2 times and now adding the Aoteroa title to the ever growing collection in his impressive CV. Mark Jones ex Wales and Scarlets wing has been added to the coaching team replacing Ronan O Gara who moved to take over at La Rochelle.
When Steve Hansen left the New Zealand job, Scott Robertson was surely in with a shout of taking the big job and did go through the interview process but Ian Foster signed a deal through to France 2023. Scott Robertson will hope to continue to build on the recent achievements and build a stronger squad for 2021 and beyond.
Looking at the strength of the first 23 names on their team sheet players like Bryn Hall, Jack Goodhue , Richie Mo’unga , Sevu Reece and Will Jordan there play a open brand of rugby based on solid forward play and strong defence and then you add their backs into the equation you have a receipt for success !!
They have one game left against the Blues this weekend and Scott Robertson has already told his squad he wants to end the year on a high note by beating the Blues but you can be sure that Beauden Barrett will want to end his first season with a win before he moves to play in the Top League in Japan with Suntory Sungoliath, he will still be free to play with New Zealand if called upon while playing in Japan.
There is always going to be questions as to who the best club side in the World is and on both sides of the equator many will vouch for their chosen side but it would be an interesting clash between current European Champions Saracens and Crusaders. Only time will tell as to whether there is a real appetite for a clash between the two best sides North or South of the equator….