CRAIG LEWIS identifies some of the good, the bad and the ugly to take away from the final of Vodacom Super Rugby.
The Crusaders, of course. Although Saturday’s final was hardly the most entertaining affair, you have to simply admire the mighty Crusaders, who brutally suffocated the life out of the Jaguares. However, it’s also worth highlighting the cool and composed performance of referee Jaco Peyper. At least we had one South African involved in the final, and he really did a sterling job. The best compliment you can really pay a referee is when you hardly notice he is there, and Peyper certainly ensured the spotlight wasn’t on him as he controlled the game superbly, making a number of astute decisions.
The Jaguares put up a serious fight against the Crusaders, but they will reflect on a number of missed opportunities and wonder what could have been. In a final of such magnitude, the visitors needed to take every chance available, and an undoubtedly game-defining moment came when Matias Moroni failed to score with the tryline at his mercy. Again, you have to pay credit to the Crusaders’ defence, but the Jaguares will know this was a key moment in the match, as was the decision to turn down a shot at goal at another crucial stage in the final.
There is no doubt that there was an element of an anti-climax for Saturday’s final. It’s believed it was a struggle to get all the tickets sold in cold Christchurch, while there was an undeniable sense of inevitability about the Crusaders’ march to victory. Again, it raised the question about whether it may not be better for the title decider to be played at a neutral venue, or to at least allow for a week’s break between the final and semi-finals to at least negate the travel factor to some degree.
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