The SA Rugby magazine team identify what they would love to see come out of Vodacom Super Rugby final.
Craig Lewis (senior writer) is hoping to see a competitive clash.
Even without the traditional June international break, this Super Rugby edition has been a long one. For most South African fans, it’s also been something of an anti-climax, with no local side progressing to the final four.
The attention of most has already begun to shift towards the upcoming international season and World Cup, but there is just the ‘small’ matter of a Super Rugby final this weekend … between giants the Crusaders, and the plucky underdogs from Argentina, the Jaguares.
Of course, the Saders are overwhelming favourites, but all I’m hoping for is an engaging and hard-fought affair. After having to travel all the way from Argentina to Christchurch, it would be so easy for the Jaguares to suffer a one-sided blowout.
However, it would be fantastic to see a long season come to an end with a thrilling and entertaining battle worth of a final.
Jon Cardinelli (chief writer) wants referee Jaco Peyper to prioritise accuracy over a mandate to entertain.
It’s Thursday, and everyone – especially Hurricanes fans – is still talking about the refereeing blunders witnessed in the all-New Zealand semi-final last Saturday. Nic Berry missed a cynical infringement by Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock and the Hurricanes went on to lose possession and ultimately the chance to play in the final.
Hopefully Jaco Peyper will set a higher standard in the decider. I don’t care if Peyper has to penalise the Crusaders – or the Jaguares for that matter – 10 times in the first five minutes. The referee needs to make a statement by showing the players that cynical play – around the ruck and at the offside line – will not be tolerated.
We all want to see a free-flowing and entertaining contest. I can appreciate that this decider will be watched by millions around the world and that Sanzaar doesn’t want a game that is stop-start in nature.
However, I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that accuracy must come first. One would hope that Peyper delivers a performance to match the occasion and that he receives the necessary support from his assistant referees. One would hope that he administers punishment where it is due and that we have something other than officiating to talk about in the weeks to come.
Dylan Jack (junior staff writer) wants the Jaguares to upset the odds.
The Jaguares are up against it, that much is for sure. After 18 games in a long season, they now face the daunting trip to Christchurch and are up against a Crusaders side that has winning in their DNA.
That they have come so far, after disappointing season after season, is already a massive achievement for the Argentinians.
But as someone who loves a good underdog story, it would be fantastic to see the Jaguares cap everything off and lift the Super Rugby trophy.
John Goliath (senior contributor) wants the players to express themselves despite the pressures of a final.
So many finals turn out to be drab affairs as players tend to go into their shells because of a fear of failure. A player doesn’t want to be remembered for making a mistake and costing their team the title.
The Crusaders don’t really play within themselves when it comes to knockout matches. They don’t really play ‘finals footy’. They play their all-encompassing game whatever the stakes. They played what was in front of them in the semi-finals against the Hurricanes, and had a go when it was on to do so and kicked well when they had to.
This is the Jaguares’ first final and I hope that they don’t let the occasion get to them, and end up playing without the same verve and exuberance that has been the hallmark of their play during the regular season.
Super Rugby needs a top final to show that this competition is still rugby’s premier franchise tournament.
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