Crusaders are one of 'most successful' sides

Sun, 06 Aug 2017 07:21

IN THE SPOTLIGHT: The Crusaders were feted Sunday as "one of the most successful sporting franchises" as New Zealanders put aside provincial loyalties to praise the eight-time Super Rugby champions.

The Crusaders' 25-17 victory over the Lions in Johannesburg was the first time a team had crossed the Indian Ocean to win a final in South Africa.

It was also only the second time a team had won the championship on foreign soil after the Crusaders beat the Brumbies in Canberra in the 2000 final.

New Zealand Herald writer Liam Napier pointed out the Crusaders had everything stacked against them in terms of travel, altitude and crowd.

"Harnessing the character of a city that has endured so much pain, the Crusaders defied it all," Napier said, recalling the devastating 2011 earthquakes in the Crusaders' home base of Christchurch.

"For that reason alone the hat must be tipped to one of the most successful sporting franchises,"

The game was watched in New Zealand in the early hours of Sunday and locals took to talkback radio and online discussions to express their delight.

All Blacks and Springboks hailed the Crusaders on social media.

"Well done to the @crusadersrugby," tweeted former Crusader and All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter.

"Only one loss all year, Congrats lads @crusadersrugby," added Sonny Bill Williams, while Springbok lock Bakkies Botha said the win was "well deserved. Enjoy."

Nearly 61 000 people packed out the Johannesburg Stadium to cheer on the Lions.

But they were instead forced to watch the Crusaders race to a 12-0 lead following tries by Seta Tamanivalu and Jack Goodhue and, by half-time, they were up 15-3.

A third try to Kieran Read and two Richie Mo'unga penalties put the Crusaders 25-3 ahead before the Lions produced two late tries by Malcolm Marx and Corne Fourie.

The team has consistently been in the Super Rugby play-offs and Crusader turned coach Scott Robertson said this title, the first in nine years, would put an end to the annual pre-season question fired at the Canterbury franchise.

"Every time people ask us about not having won the trophy for a while - well now we won't hear that question for a while," he said.

Agence France-Presse

Hurricanes vs Highlanders
sast: 08h35 | local: 19h35

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Sat, 24 March 2018
Sunwolves v Chiefs 04h15 Tokyo
Hurricanes v Highlanders 06h35 Wellington
Kings v Treviso 13h00 Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium
Sale Sharks v Worcester Warriors 15h00 AJ Bell Stadium
Saracens v Harlequins 15h00 London
London Irish v Gloucester 15h00 Madejski Stadium
Stormers v Reds 15h15 Newlands
Cardiff Blues v Ulster 15h15 Cardiff Arms Park
Newcastle Falcons v Northampton Saints 17h30 Kingston Park
Munster v Scarlets 17h30 Thomond Park
Ospreys v Leinster 19h35 Liberty Stadium
Jaguares v Lions 19h40 Estadio Jose Amalfitani
Sun, 25 March 2018
Leicester Tigers v Wasps 15h00 Welford Road
Fri, 30 March 2018
Chiefs v Highlanders 06h35 Hamilton
Rebels v Hurricanes 08h45 Melbourne
Scarlets v La Rochelle 17h30 Parc y Scarlets
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Rebels 5 4 0 1 20
Reds 4 3 0 1 12
Waratahs 4 2 1 1 10
Brumbies 4 2 0 2 8
Sunwolves 4 0 0 4 2
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 5 3 0 2 15
Highlanders 3 3 0 0 13
Hurricanes 3 2 0 1 10
Chiefs 3 2 0 1 8
Blues 4 1 0 3 6
Pool SA
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 5 4 0 1 19
Stormers 5 2 0 3 9
Sharks 5 1 1 3 9
Bulls 5 1 0 4 5
Jaguares 4 1 0 3 4