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TITLE NO 5 AND COUNTING

3 June 2021
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Scott Barrett lifts the Tu Kotahi Aotearoa Trophy for Super Rugby Aotearoa supremacy last month.

Campbell Burnes analyses how and why the Crusaders again did the business at the business end of the season (page 50-52):

The Crusaders march on.

That makes three straight Super Rugby crowns plus the two Super Rugby Aotearoa competitions for Scott Robertson’s charges.

They started in imperious fashion before relying on the brilliant Richie Mo’unga to help see off the Blues at Eden Park.

Then followed a lull of three matches which had some pundits prematurely writing that they had hit the skids. But they won their last two matches, doing enough in a tight final which never really hit the heights. Still, they maintain their extraordinary record of never having lost a home playoffs match. That streak is now at 24 and stretches back to 1998. They have, in fact, dropped just three home games, including the 2017 British and Irish Lions, since Robertson took over.

The aberration was the 33-12 home defeat to the Highlanders on April 2. It was six years since the Crusaders had played that poorly, though the visitors were inspired in their execution.

The Chiefs, thanks to ‘Clutch’ McKenzie, took them down in Hamilton, so they dropped one more game than they did in the 2020 Super Rugby Aotearoa campaign.

But, given the adversity they faced via long-term injuries to Joe Moody and Jack Goodhue, it was a fair effort. They won the big moments and soaked up pressure in most outings. That is seemingly bound into their rugby DNA…

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