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Final

Corey Flynn

GETTING READY: Corey Flynn, who leaves for French club Toulouse after the Super Rugby season, hopes to collect his fourth title before he departs Christchurch.

Corey Flynn concedes there’s nothing like a jolt of electricity to help determine a career path.

Things are trucking along pretty nicely for the 33-year-old these days but if he wasn’t a professional rugby player he isn’t certain what occupation he would have chosen after leaving Southland Boys’ High School.

Well, he is sure about one thing: He wasn’t going to work in an industry where he risked getting zapped from bare wires.

“I was looking at an electrical apprenticeship but that wasn’t my forte,” Flynn reflects. “Electricity scares the hell out of me because you can’t see it and I took a couple of boots.”

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Andy Ellis & Willi Heinz

IN TANDEM: Andy Ellis, left, has played in rotation with Willi Heinz in the Crusaders No 9 jersey.

Andy Ellis is not the world’s best number nine. He is not even rated in the top three half backs in his own country by the All Blacks coach.

But the 30-year-old scrapper may well be the most influential player on the pitch in the Super 15 final.

Ellis is a very good gauge of how the Crusaders are travelling. When Ellis is going well, the Cantabs are going well.

When Ellis is searching for his game and his energy, the Crusaders often become stilted, predictable and unsure of themselves.

The little big man – do all half backs have a Napoleon complex? – was superb in the semifinal against the Sharks.

The Crusaders deliberately shortened their kicking game to put the Sharks backfield under constant pressure and Ellis was at the forefront of the tactic.

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Colin Slade

SYDNEY HERE WE COME: Colin Slade, right, makes a point while chatting to his Crusaders team-mates at training yesterday.

Getting ditched from the All Blacks wasn’t how Colin Slade wanted to prepare for his first Super Rugby grand final.

He can’t do anything about his omission from Steve Hansen’s Rugby Championship squad but the first five-eighth could think of better ways to begin what should be one of the most memorable weeks of his career as the Crusaders focus on meeting the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday night.

The timing might have been terrible but one thing is certain: Slade isn’t going to have a whinge about it.

“I had probably prepared myself, a little bit, for it,” Slade shrugged.

“It’s a bit of a numbers game isn’t it? You can’t take everyone.”

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Michael Cheika

HAPPY MAN: Waratahs coach Michael Cheika shares a joke with his players at training this week.

The coach who has overseen the revival of the Waratahs declined to ratchet up the pressure on Crusaders counterpart Todd Blackadder today, by doubting the seven-time Super Rugby champions are stressed from not winning the title since 2008.

Michael Cheika appeared in a typically jovial pre-match mood as the Waratahs continued their preparations for Saturday’s clash between the competition’s first and second-ranked teams at ANZ Stadium.

During a wide-ranging preamble, Cheika neglected to play mind games with Blackadder, another former hard-nosed forward.

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Richie McCaw

Richie McCaw

Crusaders flanker Richie McCaw knows from past experience, both sweet and bitter, that a crucial moment can decide Saturday’s Super Rugby final result against the Waratahs in Sydney.

“When it comes down to one or two moments, the teams that are good enough to take those opportunities are the ones that win,” the All Blacks captain said.

“If you drop your guard for one or two moments, you’ll come second.”

He will be making his eighth Super final appearance, the first being in 2002 against the Waratahs when the Crusaders won the competition for the fourth time.

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Australian Flag“OUR support goes with the Australian side from here on in – we’d like to see them bring it home,” and with that Brumbies captain Ben Mowen pledged his support for the Waratahs.

It’s a situation unique to Super Rugby within Australian sport where fierce provincial ties are up against a sense of national pride, where this week rugby fans will be encouraged to overlook their dislike for the Waratahs for the greater good of the local game.

The Waratahs will on Saturday host a Super Rugby final for the very first time when they take on long-time nemesis, the Crusaders, at ANZ Stadium.

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Richie McCaw

GOOD NERVES: He may have 113 Tests, 3 World Cups and 137 appearances for the Crusaders to his name, but All Blacks skipper Richie McCaw still gets anxious before the big matches.

For Richie McCaw the job of preparing for big rugby matches should be as simple as flicking dust off his shoes.

That, he says, is nonsense – the anxiety will never go away.

Despite playing 113 tests, appearing in three World Cups and making 137 appearances for the Crusaders, the 33-year-old flanker still finds himself burning-off nervous energy ahead of crucial matches such as Saturday night’s Super Rugby grand final against the Waratahs in Sydney.

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WaratahsThe Waratahs have predictably named an unchanged starting line-up for Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders at ANZ Stadium as they seek to convert an eight-match winning streak into a maiden title.

With no injury concerns following last Saturday’s 26-8 semifinal win over the Brumbies, head coach Michael Cheika has retained the 23-man squad that provided the success-starved franchise with a historic home final.

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Steve Hansen

TOUGH CHOICES: All Blacks coach Steve Hansen naming his squad for The Rugby Championship.

If some of the Crusaders’ players needed any extra motivation to win Saturday’s Super Rugby grand final, then All Blacks coach Steve Hansen has provided it.

The Crusaders have eight players in the 31-man Rugby Championship test squad but three omissions were the talking point yesterday.

Hansen dropped Crusaders openside flanker Matt Todd, midfield back Ryan Crotty and first five-eighth Colin Slade.

Todd and Slade have been keeping All Blacks aces Richie McCaw and Dan Carter out of their preferred positions in the Super Rugby arena.

Hansen rang the trio to explain.

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Andrew Mehrtens

Andrew Mehrtens

There’s something different about these Waratahs, who stand between the Crusaders and their eighth Super Rugby title, and I think I’ve worked out what it is.

They’ve finally stopped telling everyone how good they are; and just set about proving it on the field.

Over the years the drums would always get beaten whenever the Waratahs had a big pre-season or early season, and it was so often just noise. Inevitably they’d fail to live up to their own hype.

This year, conversely, they’ve done the most when they’ve said the least.

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Get CarterOPERATION “Get Carter” is being hatched at the Waratahs’ Moore headquarters this week, with NSW defence coach and hardman Nathan Grey devising a special strategy to smash Crusaders superstar Dan Carter out of the grand final.

The world’s greatest pointscorer stands in the way of the Waratahs first premiership, and the Tahs plan to ensure that Carter has no room to breathe when the teams collide in the decider at ANZ Stadium on Saturday.

Waratahs enforcer Wycliff Palu successfully targeted Brumbies playmaker Matt Toomua in last weekend’s semi-final, and Tahs five-eighth Bernard Foley said they will have similar plans for Carter.

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WaratahsAn enemy turned ally holds the key to the Waratahs’ hopes of securing their maiden Super Rugby championship with a hoodoo-busting victory over the colossal Crusaders.

The Waratahs will tap into the vast knowledge of assistant coach Daryl Gibson, a vital cog in five of the Crusaders record seven Super Rugby titles, in a bid to conquer the champion New Zealanders for the first time in a decade.

The Tahs have lost their past 11 encounters with the Crusaders, including the 2005 and 2008 title deciders, but have identified Gibson’s expert insight into the competition’s perennial superpowers as priceless.

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Special EditionSuper RugbyThe 2014 Super Rugby season is slowly drawing to a close and tomorrow sees the two Play-Off matches in the form of a Qualifying Round. Tomorrow’s victorious teams will qualify for the right to play in the Semi-Finals.

The only certainty is that the Crusaders and the Waratahs will be hosting those Semi-Finals, but against whom, and what happens after that?

There are multiple scenarios and permutations that could come into play.

3 Weekends of Super Rugby remain in 2014, this weekend’s Play-Off Round, the Semi-Final Weekend and the Final the week thereafter.

The Final takes place on 2 August 2014.

 

If you are a Sharks fan:

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Your team qualified 3rd on the Combined Log.

They’re up against the Highlanders in Durban, on Saturday night.

  • If the Sharks win, then they travel to Christchurch to take on the Crusaders in the one Semi-Final.
  • If the Sharks beat the Crusaders and the Waratahs beat the Brumbies, the Sharks travel to Sydney to take on the Waratahs.
  • The Sharks can host the Final if they beat the Crusaders and the Brumbies beat the Waratahs.

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Special EditionSuper RugbyAs we head into the Super Rugby Finals Series, here is an overview of what happens should the scores be level at full time in any of our remaining matches.

(a) Extra Time – the procedure will be:

After a five minute rest period, the extra time is played in two 10-minute periods with a two minute half time;

Before extra time begins, the referee will do a coin toss with the two captains one minute before the new kick-off. The winner of the coin toss decides if his team wants to kick-off or if his team wants to choose the side of the pitch it wants to play on for the first 10 minute period;

For the second 10 minute period, the teams change sides and the team that did not kick off in the first period does so;

Coaches are not permitted on the field during the rest period or half time.

Teams and match officials must remain on the field during the rest period and at half time.

Injury time is added to the two 10 minute periods.

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Captains Maro Itoje (England) & Handré Pollard (South Africa) holding the IRB Junior World Championship trophy

Captains Maro Itoje (England) & Handré Pollard (South Africa) holding the IRB Junior World Championship trophy

Dan Kriel will play on the right wing for the Junior Springboks in the IRB Junior World Championship final against England on Friday night at Eden Park in Auckland.

His inclusion in place of Lloyd Greeff is the only tweak to the team that beat New Zealand in a dramatic semi-final last Sunday in North Harbour.

The versatile Kriel, twin brother of outside centre Jesse Kriel, is preferred in the starting line-up because of his huge work rate on defence.

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ABSA Currie CupHere we are, the final week of the 2013 Currie Cup season. This has been one of those seasons where we look back and say that there was never a dull moment. Some new young talent came to the party and showed us that there is still a great big future for SA Rugby.

As always every rugby supporter in South Africa has picked his or her team to support on Saturday. This is what makes the Currie Cup such a great competition. There are only two teams left and the whole of the nation has a team to support between the two. It is also in this time that people go a little crazy driving down the streets waving flags, hooting at each other, drinking and having a braai together.

So lets get to business. On Friday we will see the Pumas host the Griquas in the 2nd and last Currie Cup Promotion / Relegation game. The Pumas showed last weekend that they can cause an upset here and maybe get back into the Premier Division for 2014.

In the main event of the weekend, we see a Currie Cup Final with a familiar sight for for a second time when Western Province and The Sharks go into battle. This should be yet another epic Currie Cup Final, as most people will agree that the best two teams of this year’s Currie Cup is in the final.

Newlands Stadium in Cape Town is sold out for the occasion!

So folks, hold on to your seats… IT”S GOING TO BE A BUMPY RIDE!

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SharksThe Sharks have named what must be close on their strongest line-up possible with the inclusion of Jannie du Plessis and Willem Alberts for Saturday’s Absa Currie Cup Final against Western Province.

Unfortunately, Jean Deysel has been ruled out with a hamstring injury sustained in last week’s semi-final victory over Free State and will not play, which means Alberts comes into the starting line-up at flank.

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DHL WPDeon FourieDeon Fourie may not get the opportunity to lift the Absa Currie Cup for a second consecutive time at Newlands on Saturday.

DHL Western Province coach Allister Coetzee confirmed at an early Monday morning press conference at the High Performance Centre in Bellville that his talismanic skipper, who led the team to victory as underdogs in last year’s decider in Durban, may be a doubtful starter for the final against the Sharks. There is also an element of doubt over lock De Kock Steenkamp.

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ABSA Currie CupOnly 5 days remain before the Currie Cup final where we will see DHL Western Province take on The Sharks.

There has been quite a debate going on since Saturday and everyone has their views and thoughts on who the victor will be.

Put your skills to the test here to predict who will eventually walk away with glory and the bragging rights in the competition for 2013. Voting is open to Guests and Members of Rugby-Talk.

 

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Voting for the Poll will close at 17:15 on Saturday 26 October 2013.


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Recent Comments

  • MacroBull 30 Jul 2014, 03:35 SAST - jean de villiers a springbok contender? Wow really? why cant AC look for another captain if the player gets called...
  • robzim 29 Jul 2014, 23:53 SAST - Alister is probably still in mourning or denial because his favourite player ( Peter Grant) has deserted him and therefore...
  • Pietman 29 Jul 2014, 23:12 SAST - @ nortierd: @2 You spoke my mind! But I didn't want to be as bold as to be the first...
  • Pietman 29 Jul 2014, 23:08 SAST - This nonsense of first black to be this and first black to be that, it only puts undue pressure on...
  • nortierd 29 Jul 2014, 22:49 SAST - @ Pietman: You are right Pietman, but there's this one part of me that can't help thinking....Jake only does what...
  • nortierd 29 Jul 2014, 22:45 SAST - Seriously Allister? Take a leaf out the Sharks' book and appoint someone who WILL feature in all the CC games...

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