The Crusaders will be looking to bag a quintuple when they host the Chiefs in the 2021 Super Rugby Aotearoa final this weekend.
Check out the highlights of the last time these two sides met below, with the Chiefs running out narrow victors 👇👇
The hosts head into this one as hot favourites with the bookmakers but they will need to be wary of a Chiefs side that has plenty of attacking talent and also knows how to grind out a victory.
Crusaders v Chiefs
Saturday 8 May
To Win (80 Mins)
Crusaders (-9.5) 9/10
Chiefs (+9.5) 9/10
It’s been another year of dominance for Scott Robertson’s men as they topped the log at the close of the regular season winning six of their eight fixtures and finishing eight points clear of the second-placed Chiefs.
Their two defeats this term came against the Highlanders (12-33) and Chiefs 26-25. This duo of defeats came in the final four rounds of the regular season, with their other fixtures during this time seeing them need extra time to defeat the ‘Canes and the other was a solid 29-6 win over the Blues. Safe to say that their standards haven’t dropped, but the intensity which they showed in the early part of this season and throughout last hasn’t been matched – hardly ideal prep coming into a final against a resurgent Chiefs side.
The ‘Saders had a bye week last weekend which means they will be well-rested and raring to go. The bye came at the ideal time, allowing an extra week of rest in what is probably one of the toughest club/franchise rugby competitions in the world.
In team news, Braydon Ennor returns to the bench after suffering a serious knee injury in last season’s North v South game. He’s got some valuable club minutes under his belt over the last few weeks and will add real quality to a bench that already boasts names like Bryn Hall, Tamaiti Williams and Mitchell Dunshea.
The Chiefs have turned their season around with the men from Waikato bouncing back from defeats in rounds one and two, going on a five-game winning streak. And while this was snapped last weekend where they went down 39-19 to the Blues, it must be remembered that they fielded a significantly weakened side for this game with their place in the final already sewn up.
Key to the Chiefs resurgence has been the form of Damien McKenzie. The diminutive fullback has been the fulcrum of the Chiefs’ attack, but it’s been his goal-kicking that has stolen the spotlight with late penalties securing wins against the Hurricanes, Highlanders and Crusaders. The All Black pocket rocket is likely to have a massive say in which side lifts the Super Rugby Aotearoa trophy this weekend.
He’s been kicking at 82% this season and will need to return a similar performance level if the Chiefs are to overcome the men from Canterbury.
The Chiefs hadn’t announced their squad at the time of writing.
Verdict: Chiefs (+9.5) 9/10
This one is likely to be an extremely tight Super Rugby Aotearoa final which is why I think the plus handicap is definitely worth backing. The Chiefs have tended to finish games strongly so don’t be surprised to see them steal a win right at the death either. This 9.5 ‘cap is far too generous to ignore. Get on.