Can White’s Brumbies trump titan Crusaders?

Vengeance will be up for grabs when Jake White’s 2013 Brumbies travel to Christchurch to take on the unbeaten 2002 Crusaders in Game 10 of the Greatest Super Rugby Team tournament.

Robbie Deans’ Crusaders won all 11 of their Super 12 round-robin games, becoming the second team after the 1997 Blues to progress to the playoffs unbeaten, and the first team to win all their round-robin games and all their playoffs.

After claiming a 34-23 victory over the Highlanders in the semi-final, the Crusaders demolished the Brumbies in the final, scoring three tries and conceding one on their way to a 31-13 win.

The real highlight for this team came in the final round-robin match, though, as they scored a massive 14 tries to tear eventual semi-finalists the Waratahs apart in a record 96-19. On that day, wing Caleb Ralph scored four tries, while Leon MacDonald, Marika Vunibaka and Scott Robertson all scored braces.

This was a powerful Crusaders team, superbly captained by All Blacks forward Reuben Thorne. Flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens finished the season as the top points-scorer, with 182 to his name, which included 35 penalties and four drop goals.


In their first full Super Rugby season under World Cup-winning coach Jake White, the Brumbies led the 2013 standings for half the season and then finished top of the Australian conference and third overall.

In the wildcard playoffs, the Brumbies beat the Cheetahs in Canberra, before travelling to Pretoria and grabbing a rare win over the Bulls at Loftus Versfeld.

The Super Rugby final would be a step too far, however, as despite a superstar performance from flyhalf Christian Leali’ifano, who scored all of their points in the match, they went down to the Chiefs in Hamilton, losing 27-22.

However, with an in-form Leali’ifano and wing Henry Speight, can the Brumbies avenge their 2002 predecessors and bring one of the best Super Rugby teams down to earth?

This poll has ended (since 5 months).

Post by

Dylan Jack