We are down to just two teams in Super Rugby Pacific for 2022.
Either the Blues or the Crusaders will go down in history as the first-ever winner of Super Rugby Pacific.
The Crusaders are the most decorated team in Super Rugby history with 10 international format titles. The Blues are the second-most successful New Zealand franchise with four Super Rugby titles.
The Auckland-based franchise won the first-ever Super Rugby title in 1996.
The Blues won the tournament the following year in 1997 and secured back-to-back titles.
The Crusaders began their dominance in 1998 when they claimed their first title, beating the Blues 20-13 at Eden Park.
The Blues’ form then dropped somewhat until 2003 when they won their third Super 12 title.
Over the years, the tournament has been through several formats; however, the Blues have only added one more title to the trophy room.
Leon MacDonald’s charges did manage to win Super Rugby Trans-Tasman in 2021. They beat the Highlanders 23-15 at Eden Park to claim a fourth championship.
The Crusaders reigned supreme as they dominated southern hemisphere rugby with two dynasties
In contrast, the Crusaders won 12 total Super Rugby titles (including two Super Rugby Aotearoa titles – 2020 & 2021), making them the most successful team in history.
The Canterbury side has won 12 of 16 finals beating teams from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa and Argentina.
Scott Robertson’s men have the chance to continue the club’s second dynasty with a sixth title in as many years.
The Crusaders managed to win six of the eight different formats of the competition – Super 12, Super 14, Super Rugby (15, 18, and 15 teams), and Super Rugby Aotearoa.
The Christchurch team were crowned champions in 1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020 and 2021.
The Crusaders were runners-up in 2003, 2004, 2011 and 2014, so they have been in or very near the grand final over the last 27 years.
The Blues have been the leading team in Super Rugby Pacific this season. MacDonald’s men only lost one regular-season match as they finished top of the table.
The Saders finished second on the log, although they lost three games during the round-robin stages.
While the bookies expect the final to be an upset win for the Blues, few will be writing off the Crusaders given their history in title challenges.
Robertson’s side has won five of the previous six completed Super Rugby tournaments and will be out to claim another trophy for their bulging cabinet.
This all-New Zealand derby will be a close-fought battle and promises to be a humdinger.
2022 Super Rugby Pacific Grand Final Preview – Blues v Crusaders
Match officials and details
Match: Blues (1) v Crusaders (2)
Date: Saturday, 18 June
Venue: Eden Park, Auckland
Kick-off local: 19:05
Referee: Ben O’Keeffe
Assistant Ref 1: Nic Berry
Assistant Ref 2: Stu Curran
TMO: Shane McDermott
1. Alex Hodgman, 2. Kurt Eklund, 3. Nepo Laulala, 4. Josh Goodhue, 5. Tom Robinson, 6. Akira Ioane, 7. Adrian Choat, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 9. Finlay Christie, 10. Beauden Barrett, 11. AJ Lam, 12. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 13. Rieko Ioane, 14. Mark Telea, 15. Stephen Perofeta.
Replacements: 16. Soane Vikena 17. Karl Tu’inukuafe 18. Ofa Tuungafasi 19. Luke Romano 20. Dalton Papalii or James Tucker 21. Sam Nock, 22. Bryce Heem 23. Zarn Sullivan.
1. George Bower, 2. Codie Taylor, 3. Oli Jager, 4. Scott Barrett (c), 5. Sam Whitelock, 6. Pablo Matera, 7. Tom Christie, 8. Cullen Grace, 9. Bryn Hall, 10. Richie Mo’unga, 11. Leicester Fainga’anuku, 12. David Havili, 13. Jack Goodhue, 14. Sevu Reece, 15. Will Jordan.
Replacements: 16. Brodie McAlister, 17 Tamaiti Williams, 18 Fletcher Newell, 19 Quenten Strange, 20 Corey Kellow, 21 Mitch Drummond, 22 Braydon Ennor, 23 George Bridge.