The Last Crusade

Red Auerbach, the legendary basketball coach of the Boston Celtics once famously said “You can’t win without the ball”

This morning the Crusaders proved that you can in making it the last crusade of the season for the Chiefs and departing coach, Dave Rennie

With less than 30% possession overall the team from Christchurch kept the highly impressive attacking game of the Chiefs try less until the 78th minute.

Last week they shut out the Highlanders.

They have a great defence, but to claim that is all would be to damn them with faint praise.

Their forward play is outstanding and with Richie Mo’unga, Jack Goodhue and Ryan Crotty in midfield they are always a threat. The back three of Israel Dagg, Seta Tamanivalu and David Havili are amongst the best in Super Rugby – and beyond!

The Chiefs had their chances – they created a lot, with Anton Lienart-Brown, Ker- Barlow, Aaron Cruden and Damien McKenzie all having big games.

At the end they will have been wondering how they were so far adrift at 27-13 – without Brodie Retallick’s late try the difference would have been 21 points – somewhat adrift of my prediction, the Crusaders by 5.

For a game played in less than ideal conditions the skill sets of both teams was exceptional – as was the fitness levels – no wonder Michael Chieka has taken the Wallabies away from extreme conditioning work.

A high quality game that proved that Super rugby is still a major competition – it just needs Sanzaar to get their heads out of their arse and put in a format that works throughout the season and not just for the last 4 teams.

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