Providing the grunt in the heart of the scrum, as well as the means to win ball in the line-outs, this group of BIG men are responsible for ensuring a continuous supply of quality first phase ball for the team.
Let’s open with the players who did the hard yards in last years campaign.
The next instalment will look at the ever improving and exciting loose forwards.
The Golden Lions have made a number of signings ahead of the 2012 Super Rugby season as they look to follow on from their Currie Cup victory.
The Crusaders will play Super 15 rugby matches next season in their hometown of Christchurch but not at their regular home ground.
AMI Stadium suffered heavy damage in the February earthquakes which hit Christchurch and killed 181 people.
Sonny Bill Williams has told his All Black team-mates that he will not play Super Rugby for the Crusaders next year and is expected to announce where he will play next year later this week.
Henry told the BBC in an interview Thursday that several All Blacks stars were “overdone” as the New Zealanders head into an international season which will culminate with the World Cup on home soil.
It was exciting and a close contest and I was as happy as most Aussies with the Reds victory mostly because it moved me up to the top 4% overall on Superbru.
Generally speaking though, I thought it was a rather poor exhibition of how to play finals rugby – by both teams. Not poor rugby but poor finals tactics. Let me explain at hand of the following observations I’ve made while watching the game.
The Reds, who were playing for those who suffered because of the Queensland Floods early this year, came out on top.
But one thing is for sure – all of those involved with this Crusaders side should hold their heads high about what they’ve achieved this year.
Reds (6) 18 / Crusaders (7) 13 (Final Score)
The Reds hosted the Crusaders in the Final of Super Rugby 2011 at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Australia at 11:40 SA Time (19:40 Brisbane Time). This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
In a truly super Super Rugby Final, the Reds emerge as worthy champions.
What a tournament we’ve had!!
This is not a spitefull article, nor is it one to show any insensitivity from my side.
We experience so many disasters in the world and in my eyes the biggest one so far in 2011 was the Japannese tragedy. Japan will for years live in doubt about radio-active radiation.
Greg Growden writes: A dream final, and all of Australian Rugby are willing the Queensland Reds to win. But it won’t be easy. The Crusaders were phenomenal against the Stormers in last weekend’s semi-final in Cape Town, with their triumph revolving about an exceptional forward performance, especially at the scrum. And that’s where the Crusaders, despite the trials of jetlag, should again dominate.
The Reds scrum is good, but not as good as the Crusaders. As well, the Crusaders midfield looks far more penetrating than the Reds counterparts, who last weekend worryingly fell off several crucial tackles. The Reds will threaten long and hard, and don’t be surprised if this final is determined in extra time.
Sometimes they say it is beneficial to go backwards in order to go forward … sadly for the Stormers, it tends to be a principle of dubious value in crunch rugby matches.
It did them no favours in an embarrassingly one-sided Vodacom Super Rugby semi-final exit, when a white flag was effectively raised at only the second set scrum of the evening.
Stormers (10) 10 / Crusaders (23) 29 (Final Score)
The DHL Stormers hosted the Crusaders at Newlands, Cape Town. Stormers was forced to change their team. Dewald Duvenhage out, Louis Schreuder in. That disruption did not cost them the game, they also lost their inspirational captain at half time. Schalk Burger did not return from the changeroom, he broke a finger. The forwards of the Crusaders dominated the Stormers. At scrumtime the Stormers were not up to it. More to follow…..
Herewith the Super Rugby team sheets for the 4 teams competing in the semi finals of Super Rugby 2011.
That was the call from Stormers forwards coach Matthew Proudfoot on Tuesday. The vastly experienced Thorn was injured and did not feature for the Crusaders in their recent 20-14 victory over the Stormers at Newlands, with Luke Romano and Chris Jack guarding the second row.
Stormers coach Allister Coetzee says his team will “look to right the mistakes” they made in their league defeat to the Crusaders in Saturday’s Super Rugby semifinal at a sold-out Newlands (5.05pm kick-off).
Even though the Stormers went down 20-14 to an injury-ravaged Crusaders in May, the biggest problem on that Saturday night was taking their opportunities on attack, of which there were plenty.
The Crusaders may have to play all of their home games away from AMI Stadium in Christchurch in 2012 and the All Blacks could already have played their last game there.
In the sober light of Sunday morning, there is a very good reason that the Sharks were never going to win this one.
Last week former Crusaders coach Robbie Deans, who guided the team to a record five titles between 2000 and 2008, reckoned the heavy travel schedule during the finals series would wear down his former outfit.
Crusaders (13) 36 / Sharks (5) 8 (Final Score)
The Crusaders hosted the Sharks at Travalgar Park, Nelson at 09:35 SA Time. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
This was the last of the two play-off matches to decide who will be in the semi-finals. No 3 on the Combined Log (Crusaders) at home against No 6 on the Combined Log (Sharks).
With a little bit of help from a poor performance by Bryce Lawrence as well as some poor Sharks handling, the Crusaders eased into the semi-finals.
The Crusaders now travel to Newlands, Cape Town, South Africa to meet the Stormers in the one semi-final whereas the Blues travel to Queensland, Australia to meet the Reds in the other semi-final.
Herewith the Super Rugby team sheets for the 4 teams competing in the play-off round this weekend.
Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder says that he wants his team to “unleash” in the Super Rugby finals which start for them on Saturday against the Sharks in Nelson.
As the euphoria following the weekend’s local derbies subsides, let’s take a moment to acknowledge a truly special effort by a very special team.
Crusaders (6) 16 / Hurricanes (6) 9 (Final Score)
The Crusaders hosted the Hurricanes at Westpac tadium, Wellington at 09:35 SA Time. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
The Crusaders finish top of the New Zealand Conference.
Crusaders (13) 23 / Blues (11) 16 (Final Score)
The Crusaders hosted the Blues at Alpine Energy Stadium, Timaru at 09:35 SA Time. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
The Crusaders prevailed with a 7-point win, going top of the New Zealand Conference, with one week to go.
The Crusaders have suffered another cruel blow with the loss of Captain Richie McCaw for the rest of the regular Super Rugby season.
Reds (7) 17 / Crusaders (10) 16 (Final Score)
The Reds hosted the Crusaders at Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane at 08:10 SA Time, Sunday morning. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
The Reds flyhalf, Quade Cooper, slotted a penalty in the 80th minute to secure a 1-point lead and eventual win. It was a hard and brutal match but the relatively low scores both sides just do not do justice to the open and flowing game presented by these tow sides on the day.
Crusaders (6) 25 / Chiefs (6) 19 (Final Score)
The Crusaders hosted the Chiefs at McLean Park, Napier at 09:35 SA Time. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
In a dour game, with lots of errors, the Crusaders marched on in their quest for the title.
Dan Carter is expected to announce his playing future at a press conference in Christchurch today. LATEST: He’s staying
‘We are at war’ in NZ conference: Joseph
Highlanders coach Jamie Joseph says the difference between the New Zealand and Australian Super Rugby conferences is like “war and school stuff”.
Blues work on Stormers maul busting
It’s not like the Blues don’t know it’s coming. It’s just how effective they are in dealing with the Stormers potent rolling maul that’s the tricky part.
Crusaders Israel Dagg, Adam Whitelock and Sean Maitland are not expected to play any further part in this year’s Super Rugby season due to injury.
Richie McCaw’s men dominated territory and possession but Johnson, who scored the match-clinching try, and his fellow forwards produced a Herculean defensive effort to put the Crusaders under pressure and force them into costly errors.
Cheetahs (16) 33 / Crusaders (17) 20 (Final Score)
The Cheetahs hosted the Crusaders at Free State Stadium, Bloemfontein, at 19:10 SA Time. This was the match thread for discussion of the game. The match was broadcast live on SuperSport 1, SHD & M-Net on TV in SA.
The Cheetahs recorded a masterful win over serious title contenders, the Crusaders…. and on top of it all kept the Crusaders from recording a single Log poin advance, well done Cheetahs!
What looked like a match featuring two teams from different spectrums of the championship has suddenly been transformed by the Cheetahs’ results over the last phase of the competition.
In a match where the lead changed sides more often than some presidents change their mind on foreign policy, the Crusaders eventually ran out 20-14 victors over the DHL Stormers at Newlands.