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Super 14 Final Preview

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And then there were two. There is one match left and when we wake up on Sunday we will have a new Super 14 Champion.


It took 14 weeks of round robin rugby and a further weekend of Semi-final action to get to this point. Few will argue that these team deserve to be where they are.


The Crusaders led the field from the start while the Waratahs have been one of the form teams for some time. The two sides have met before in a Super Rugby final (in Christchurch in 2005) with the Crusaders winning 35-25.


This year the super 14 final is a rematch of a match played at the same venue in Round 6. The Crusaders won the match 34-7 but the score line didn’t tell the whole story.


The Crusaders led at the break and then 10 minutes into the second half the Waratahs took the lead after a Wycliff Palu converted try. That shocked the Crusaders into action and they promptly ran in four tries.


The fact that the Waratahs took the lead in the second half prompted Waratahs captain Phil Waugh to say that he thought the Crusaders were a ‘very beatable’ team. Well now he has his chance to prove it.

 

Weaknesses

 

The Crusaders weaknesses have be shown up in recent weeks and the Waratahs will have studied the Crusaders deficiencies against the Reds and Highlanders. How well they can implement what they have learnt will be known on Saturday.


The stand out weakness for the Waratahs is Kurtley Beale’s wobby boot. If he has another bad day kicking penalties it could  be over quickly for the Waratahs.


Defence

 

Amazingly these two teams are one point apart on points scored against them (199-198) indicating what brilliant defences these teams have. On attack the Crusaders are more than 100 points ahead of the Waratahs and this coupled with home advantage has to see the Crusaders as clear favourites.

Emotion will be running high in both camps as both teams will lose players and they will lose their coaches after the match. Both teams have said that they don’t want the players to adopt a “Let’s do it for so and so” and both want to focus on the fact that a title is as stake.

 

Attack

 

The Waratahs have enough attacking and defensive abilities to upset the Crusaders and they will look to strangle the life out of their opposition in much the same way that they did to the Hurricanes in Round 1. In the end it will come down to who handles the pressure the most and that comes from experience which the Crusaders have a lot more of.

 

If you are looking for a team that knows how to attack then look at the Crusaders. They are the only team that has scored more than 400 points this year. 

 

Prediction.

 

The Crusaders are well known for their attacking and defensive qualities, they are an all round team. They have been there and they have done it. Expect them to do it again on Saturday – beating the Waratahs by 8.

 

On a personal level we would like to thank you for joining us throughout the season and don’t forget that we will still be here for the rest of the year and whatever shape the tournament takes next year – we will be here.

 

CRUSADERS V WARATAHS


Venue : AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Date : Saturday May 31, 7.35pm
Referee: Mark Lawrence (South Africa)
Assistant Referee One: Craig Joubert (South Africa)
Assistant Referee Two: Cobus Wessels (South Africa)
Television Match Official: Shaun Veldsman (South Africa)
Head-to-Head: Played 14, Crusaders 10, Waratahs 4
In Christchurch: Played 8, Crusaders 7, Waratahs 1
This season: Round 6, March 21 2008: Crusaders 34-7 Waratahs at AMI Stadium, Christchurch


Teams:


Crusaders:

Leon MacDonald, Kade Poki, Casey Laulala, Tim Bateman, Scott Hamilton, Daniel Carter, Andy Ellis, Mose Tuiali’i, Richie McCaw (captain), Kieran Read, Ali Williams, Brad Thorn, Greg Somerville, Ti’i Paulo, Wyatt Crockett.
Reserves: Steve Fualau, Ben Franks, Reuben Thorne, Nasi Manu, Kahn Fotuali’i, Stephen Brett, Sean Maitland.

 

Waratahs:

Sam Norton-Knight, Lachie Turner, Rob Horne, Tom Carter, Lote Tuqiri, Kurtley Beale, Luke Burgess, Wycliff Palu, Phil Waugh (captain), Rocky Elsom, Dan Vickerman, Dean Mumm, Al Baxter, Tatafu Polota-Nau, Benn Robinson.

Reserves: Adam Freier, Matt Dunning, Will Caldwell, Beau Robinson, Brett Sheehan, Matt Carraro, Timana Tahu.

 

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