A picture of disappointment (Twitter on SuperRugby NZ)
The Jaguares dominated just about everything that they needed to, but also made the most mistakes that they needed to curb. The end-result was a 19-3 victory to the Crusaders, ttheir 10th Super Rugby title and third in a row.
The match also gave Springbok coach Rassie Erasmus food for thought and showed up a number of weaknesses of the winners. Although this wasn’t the All Blacks, a number of key test players ran out for the Crusaders on Saturday and their performances will have been noted.
And, of course, the Boks are playing the Pumas, with the nucleus of their to-be-selected players most likely in the Jaguares side, in the upcoming Rugby Championship early next month - and their performances under this kind of pressure will also have interested the Bok coach.
The Crusaders handling suffered under the tight rush defence of the Jaguares backline; they missed 15% of their tackles; the Jaguares, despite a rickety scrum throughout the season and also in this match, did win this facet a few times. The lineouts of the Crusaders were also not hundred percent.
All of this must be put down to the pressure, confidence and a resolute performance by the Jaguares, who proved that they were well-deserved finalists. They had three chances to score but were denied by poor or unlucky finishing efforts. The Crusaders were close twice and scored once.
However, the Jaguares beat 25 defenders to the homes side’s 11, made five clean breaks to three and ran further and more with the ball, as is underlined by their 198 passes to 98. The Crusaders missed 25 of their 157 tackles, the Jaguares 11 from 105.
The Argentinians were also superior in the rucks where they won the breakdown battle 92-79.
But all in all, the best team took the spoils. Saders were simply more clinical when the opportunities were there to be taken.
The Pumas will be tough to beat in the Rugby Championship which starts on 20 July, and should do very well in the World Cup, probably emulating their semi-final place of 2015 when they also have some overseas players available.
Crusaders – Try: Codie Taylor. Conversion: Richie Mo’unga. Penalties: Mo’unga (4).
Jaguares – Penalty: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla.