The Crusaders are seeking to add to their record tally of Super Rugby titles when they meet the Lions in Johannesburg this Saturday, saluting seven times in the competition’s 21 seasons.
But those seven triumphs came in the first 13 years of Super Rugby, last winning in 2008 and suffering defeats in away finals to the Reds in 2011 and Waratahs in 2014.
Throwback Thursday relives the Kiwi heavyweights’ most recent success: their hard-fought 20-12 victory over the ’Tahs in the 2008 decider in Christchurch.
The Crusaders topped the regular-season table with 11 wins from their 13 games, while the Waratahs finished second with a 9-1-3 record. The front-runners disposed of the Hurricanes and Sharks respectively to advance to the final.
The Waratahs took a commanding lead at AMI through Lachie Turner, who latched onto a Kurtley Beale cross-field kick for the opening try before opening up a 12-3 advantage with his second touchdown in the 25th minute.
But the Crusaders landed a crucial blow just before halftime, No.8 Mose Tuiali’I crashing over in the corner.
The mercurial Dan Carter held a mortgage on the scoreboard in the second half, booting three penalties to guide the Crusaders to their third title in four seasons.
The Crusaders will field two survivors of their ’08 win this weekend – record-breaking prop Wyatt Crockett and All Blacks skipper Kieran Read.