What a way to wrap up the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Season on a high at Eden Park with the Blues v Crusaders Final in Auckland, New Zealand. The Crusaders collected two three-point goals with the early lead going into half-time at 0-6, before they extend their winning margin off the back of Bryn Hall’s opening big score. The Blues may have responded to the Saders’ strong start when they were right back in the mix with 20 minutes left, courtesy of Finlay Christie’s TRY. However, they couldn’t find a way to close the gap where a couple of lost chances with the ball forced the Crusaders hand, as Sevu Reece’s TRY in the 76th minute was enough to secure the visitors with the championship, 7-21.
Commiserations to the Blues at home where they had to settle as 2nd best tonight but a fantastic season nonetheless. They got the build-up base going defensively, as well as a couple of fresh faces off the bench that helped them win a couple of penalties/turnovers along the way. They just couldn’t bridge the other end when it comes to the attack/executions; their throw-ins were poor at line-out time that held back time after time before a messy passage of play and a lack of numbers through the channels saw the ball flying over the place. It’s one huge weakness the Blues couldn’t match the Saders top-notch standard in the end.
Meanwhile, it’s good to see the Crusaders on top once again after they topped the regular-season winners tonight that secured another piece of silverware on their trophy cabinet. They didn’t rush anything whatsoever when the Saders kept a great eye on the Blues’ struggles going forward, especially at line-out time that wasn’t theirs to throw-in, as well as their messy attacking shape going forward. That’s how the Saders capitalised with the ball away from the opposition where they can do whatever they want, having scored two second half tries before they reached the finish line comfortably as these celebrations have already just begun – including those supporters watching back home in Christchurch.
After 18 weeks of action through 91 matches being played throughout the 2022 Super Rugby Pacific Season, we now turn our attention to the mid-year International tests – starting with the three-match Wallabies v England tour that begins on Saturday July 2 next month at Optus Stadium in Perth. We also hope to watch a couple of Shute Shield games in a few weeks time via free-to-air on 9Gem, as there’s so much rugby to look forward through the 2nd half of 2022.