Can Will Genia and Quade Cooper again knock out the Crusaders in a crunch playoff match? You must decide as the 2011 Reds take on the 2000 Crusaders in Game 6 of the Greatest Super Rugby Team tournament.
The interactive tournament puts readers at the match controls to decide which of Super Rugby’s most prolific contenders was the greatest in the history of the southern-hemisphere competition.
The 1996 Sharks beat the 2001 Brumbies in Game 1, the 2010 Stormers stopped the 2006 Crusaders in Game 2, while the 2007 Bulls hammered the 2019 Jaguares in Game 4.
Game 6 pits Ewan McKenzie’s inspirational Reds against a Crusaders side that was part of a run of three consecutive titles. YOUR VOTE in the POLL below will decide who advances to the next round of the competition.
The 2011 Reds engraved their names in Super Rugby history by claiming the Queenslanders’ first title, only the third Australian team to do so after the Brumbies (2001, 2004) and Waratahs (2014).
While the Reds would not go on to have a sustained period of dominance, it was a substantial rise from the ashes for the Queensland side, given their wretched run between 2004 and 2009, where they never finished higher than 10th place.
The 2011 Reds were a vibrant, young team, who seemingly played without fear, taking their opponents on with a keep-ball-alive approach. While their pack was solid enough to be competitive, it was the backline that was loaded with stars, including the halfback combo of Will Genia and Quade Cooper who acted as catalysts for an amazing run to finish top of the table.
Cooper finished the season as top points-scorer with 228, ahead of Springbok Morne Steyn and All Blacks flyhalf Dan Carter. It was Genia and Cooper who had the decisive touches in the 18-13 final win over the Crusaders, with the Wallabies scrumhalf scoring the title-winning try.
The 2000 Crusaders finished second on the overall Super 12 table, after winning eight of their 11 fixtures. Under Robbie Deans they progressed to the final after beating the Highlanders 37-15 in the semi-finals.
In the grand final, the Crusaders went up against the Brumbies in Canberra. It was talismanic flyhalf Andrew Mehrtens who had the decisive say in this game as he slotted five penalties to have the Crusaders claim a 20-19 victory.
Mehrtens would finish the season as the second-highest points-scorer with 161, behind the Brumbies’ Sterling Mortlock, who scored a total of 194 points.
2011 Reds – 15 Jono Lance, 14 Rod Davies, 13 Anthony Fainga’a, 12 Ben Tapuai, 11 Digby Ioane, 10 Quade Cooper, 9 Will Genia, 8 Radike Samo, 7 Beau Robinson, 6 Scott Higginbotham, 5 James Horwill (c), 4 Rob Simmons, 3 Greg Holmes, 2 Saia Fainga’a, 1 Ben Daley.
Subs: 16 James Hanson, 17 Guy Sheperdson, 18 Adam Wallace-Harrison, 19 Jake Schatz, 20 Liam Gill, 21 Ian Prior, 22 Will Chambers.
Coach: Ewan McKenzie
2000 Crusaders – 15 Leon MacDonald, 14 Caleb Ralph, 13 Daryl Gibson, 12 Mark Robinson, 11 Marika Vunibaka, 10 Andrew Mehrtens, 9 Ben Hurst, 8 Ron Cribb, 7 Reuben Thorne, 6 Scott Robertson, 5 Norm Maxwell, 4 Todd Blackadder (c), 3 Greg Feek, 2 Mark Hammett, 1 Greg Somerville.
Coach: Robbie Deans