Glory beckons underdog Jags

Some bookies have got the Crusaders as 5:1 favourites to clinch their 10th Super Rugby title in Saturday’s final, a fact that will motivate the Jaguares to make an indelible impression on the competition by denting the Kiwi dynasty.

Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch is the venue for the 2019 decider, a very important factor according to the archives.

In 23 Super Rugby finals, the road team has only won on seven occasions. The Crusaders account for four of those, beating the Blues, Highlanders and Brumbies in succession between 1998 and 2000, and taming the Lions at Ellis Park in 2017. Those victories against the Brumbies and Lions also mark the only time in competition history that a team has won the final on foreign soil.

Make no mistake, the Crusaders have dominated this competition like no other, winning more finals than any other team has even contested.

Waning novelty won’t be a factor when the Crusaders strap up for their 14th final because they’re hunting a third successive title to match the feats of the 2000 Crusaders, led by Todd Blackadder.

The Jaguares, however, are no strangers to bucking the trend. Added to the competition in 2016, Argentina’s Super Rugby contenders have grown season on season without any sign of slowing down.

A 4-11 record in 2016 improved to 7-8 in 2017. They logged a winning record in 2018 (9-7), and then went 11-5 this year to host their first playoff match, beating the Chiefs before downing the Brumbies in the Buenos Aires semi-final.

Though the Jaguares head into their first final having failed to beat the Crusaders in either of the two previous meetings between these teams, they are riding a seven-match win streak.

The All Blacks have won back-to-back world championships, but it wasn’t too long ago when the Kiwi mindset was deemed to be fragile following their ambush exits from the 1999, 2003 and 2007 Rugby World Cups.

Both teams, packed with Test players, will be keenly aware of the importance of this final in the context of the 2019 Rugby World Cup.

If it’s possible that the weight of expectation which comes with the favourites tag could derail the Crusaders, this final would qualify more than any other before it.

A fast start will be key to ramping up the pressure on the trailing team, with seven of the last nine finals having been won by the side leading at halftime.

The neutral fan will be pulling for the Jaguares as they head into a crunch final with nothing to lose and everything to gain. Buckle up!

CRUSADERS: 15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Whetu Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Mitchell Dunshea, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Bench: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Will Jordan

JAGUARES: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14 Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente (c), 11 Ramiro Moyano, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Javier Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Agustin  Creevy, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro
Bench: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere

Referee: Jaco Peyper (SA)
Kickoff: Saturday, 9.35am (SA time)

- Zelim Nel

Let's chat

  • Herman

    They stood a chance with everything being equal but regrettably ‘home town’ Jackass Peyer will have the final say. I’m not saying he will purposely cheat but we all know how a ref can, without showing obvious bias, favour the home team with the 50/50 calls. The other aspect not to my liking is the other match officials who are all Aussie or NZ refs including the TMO. Why not an Argentinian line official and a totally independent TMO even one from the NH ? The dice is so heavily loaded in the Crusaders favour anyway.

    The only way the Jags can take the ref out of the game is to score tries and plenty of them. The Lions used to use it all the time. That is until Peyper’s knee jerk sending off of Kwagga in 2017. Not surprisingly when he again reffed the Lions / Crusaders match at Emirates the following year and with the game in the balance, lo and behold Mr Peyper with exactly the same situation waves play on and doesn’t even yellow card the Crusader player. The Lions lost 14-8.

    No doubt Peyper is NZ’s favourite ref. On the Stuff nz website his selection was met by almost national approval with 99% agreeing he is a great choice for the match, going by their comments sections. Unheard of in this day and age. Reminds me of Craig Joubert’s failure to award a palpable penalty to the French in front of the posts in the final minutes of the WC final in 2011 which was subsequently won by the AB’s 8-7. Ya our refs do have a special place in their hearts.

    I won’t mind if the Jags losing this one as long as there is no controversial calls that favour the home team and in the end the Jags lost fair and square. Let’s also hope that next year our derby games are not reffed by our lot as well. All games should have neutral officials no matter what it costs to fly these blokes around. At least we wont hopefully have a ‘Secondsgate’ debacle like the Lions v Stormers match at Newlands earlier this year.

    Best of luck to both teams, may the best team on the day win it fairly and squarely. Cheers.

    • Dean Bright

      Speaking of stats, Bulls 3 Lions 0 lol. And they were playing your so called “dom krag”. Still they managed to dispatch the Chiefs with 61 points on the board.

      The most important stat is that the Crusaders are unbeaten at home this season, bar one draw. They’ve also managed an average of +25 points vs the opposition in those games. The Jags will throw everything at them but don’t be surprised if the Crusaders pull away at the end. I’m going +12 for the Crusaders.

      • Herman

        Bulls 3 – Lions 0 ?? Not 2-0 ? By the way they beat the rebuilding Lion cubs playing ‘Lions’ rugby so they have improved on that score. The problem is they revert to dom krag as soon as they see an overseas team in front of them hence their only winning 3 out of eleven matches against the overseas teams.

        Not sure what the Chiefs / 61 points comment is all about. Weren’t the Bulls roasted 56-20 by the Chiefs ? The Lion cubs beat the Chiefs in NZ and the Highlanders at home the only team to beat two NZ teams.

        As for the final well I’ve already made my point in my original post. There’s a reason the Crusaders don’t loose at home. Witness the pathetic ref not pinging Whitelock in the Canes semi final in the dying minutes of the game. All refs seem to suffer from ‘home town fever’ there. Cheers.

        • Dean Bright

          haha I support all SA teams when they play against the opposition.

        • Dean Bright

          I’m talking about the 3 finals and titles won.

          • Herman

            Fair enough but ‘red card’ aside managed to get there in the first place which is light years ahead of what the other teams managed. Tell me who you support so I can also take the mickey. lol. Cheers.

    • Chris Mouton

      Such a sour puss. You lost. Fell short at the final hurdle. Didn’t make it. Close, but no cigar. Kwagga’s red card was textbook. Other players have been sent off for red cards for the same infringement in recent games. Face it, Herman, the Lions were good, but not good enough. Suck it up. Oh, and Peyper is not a bad ref. I’d prefer him over Seconds, Poite and any other French ref.

      • Herman

        I beg to differ old chap. I’ve seen that same offence all over since then, even in Europe and they never resulted in a red card, a yellow maybe. The reality is a player with the ball is running at you and purposefully jumping at you with legs extended and you have literally no chance of avoiding him. That’s why refs have become more lenient with it giving either a yellow or even just a penalty. Remember it was a FINAL after all. Knee jerk stuff from little Peyps and the Lions suffered the consequences. True story. Cheers.

  • Nick

    Hermie needs to learn how to enjoy life, that’s all. He can start by simply enjoying a game of rugby that he has no real stake in, instead of seeing a conspiracy or framing every damn thing around the Lions.

    • Herman

      I can assure you I enjoy life just ask my therapist. This is a minor hobby of mine old chap and I post with many a chuckle at the poor souls who rise to the bait. To each his own, I express myself my way and don’t disrespect anyone who disagrees with me. It’s a simple philosophy, being doing it for six years now. Only problem is our rugby remains in a time warp and until that changes ( it won’t be this year ) the beat goes on. Cheers.

      • John Comyn

        What are you seeing a therapist for? My guess would be you are a sociopath??

        • Herman

          Geez John, tongue in cheek too subtle for you ? You being a looooong suffering Stormers supporter may I suggest you seek out the help of a therapist. lol. The Stompies woefulness these past years must be driving you to the edge old chap. In the meantime just chill. Cheers.

  • Wesley

    Hermie, we lost bud, and Kwagga, although sad, was a deserved red. He took the sanction on the chin, the boys tried none the less and fell short.

    But i must agree that the refs seem soft on NZ teams, the ABs included. No conspiracy, its just maybe some unconscious bias. Some players are given more lee-way, like Read. But lets see this weekend….

    • Herman

      Thanks Wesley but I used the red card as an example of Peyper’s performances with regard to our teams and the Nz teams especially the Crusaders. Him reffing Saturday’s game has put paid to the Jaguares imo. The 2017 final’s loss I have long come to terms with. Cheers.

  • Nick

    Are you familiar with the concept of Autism? An aspect of which is an obsessive compulsive disorder. This is to do with obsessing about singular topics and showing an inability to read social cues and subtleties and to have a ‘tunnel vision’ approach to your own interests.

    Has your therapist ever brought this up in conversion with you or have you seen him scribble the term down in his notepad through the corner of your eye whilst lying on his couch?

    • Herman

      Gee Nick are you taking passing personal comments to a new level here or just taking the piss ? If the former please send me your bill for your comprehensive and informed advice on my condition.You have elevated ‘on line’ pyscho babble to new heights.

      However my ‘therapist’ told me not to take you seriously, comments like those sometimes are made to cover the writers own shortcomings and should be taken with a pinch of salt. I tend to agree with him. Cheers.

  • Herman

    Well it turned out to be bridge too far for the Jags but they made a very good fist of it. Probably a permanent fixture at the top of the SA Conference in future especially with our lot going from bad to worse this year. No more Lions to give us some respectability on the world stage. Sad but true. ( That’s for you Nick ).

    The Peyps wasn’t really tested today because of the scoreline so the jury is still out on old Jaco. It’s when the game gets close that the yips take over. But I’ll give him a pass mark anyway. Cheers.

    • Chris Mouton

      The Jags had some ferocious defense, but their kicking game killed them. They badly missed Sanchez for that match. He would’ve brought a lot more attacking flair than Bonilla, who was completely out of sorts. The Argentinians have a very strong pack this year. Just the thought of Kremer, Matera and Isa as the loosies makes playing against them daunting. With Petti and Lavanini as the locks and that dangerous backline they surely pack enough punch. If they can get their scrums sorted they stand a real chance of upsetting the world order.

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