When it comes to talking about Crusaders You don’t need major presentations to be able to pan over your present. The future team of Pablo Matera lives an eternal honeymoon with the oval sport and every year he demonstrates it by dint of titles. Chance? Not at all, since each season is surrounded by great figures who also demonstrated their qualities with the All Blacks black jersey.
Super Rugby began to be played in 1996 and Crusaders is together with the Blues one of the teams that has the privilege of having been in the 24 editions of the tournament. I arrive 19 times to the semi-finals, of which 14 agreed to the final and on 10 occasions he was champion. Many were the names that wrote the glory days of the Christchurch team. The first title came in 1998 with the aim of Andrew Merthens which was key to the first Olympic round.
Next to the talented opening stood out Scott robertson, current coach of the team, and in the second row he shone in the height Reuben thorne, a player who left his legacy in the selected kiwi. That first title became a three-time championship until the beginning of the 21st century with Afato So’oalo as one of the team’s figures and tryman of the feat in 1999.
He would repeat in 2002 as absolute owner of the Southern Hemisphere but his glory years were about to begin with the arrival of a player who would break all records: Dan carter. A team full of stars commanded by Richie McCaw as captain, he had Leon MacDonald, Aaron Murger and Justin Marshall. They repeated the following year with the same musicians and with a first luxury line composed by Wyatt Crockett, Corey Flynn and Greg Sommerville.
It didn’t take long for the word “champion” to reappear in a roster full of figures. In 2008 the band continued to play and names such as Kieran Read and Ben Franks that were beginning to appear in top-level rugby.
It was followed by a 9-year drought but the names kept popping up. The 2011 final that they lost to Reds had players of good stature like Sonny Bill Willams, Sam Whitelock, Luke Romano and Ryan Crotty. More names that went through Crusaders? Of course there are: Matt Todd, Israel Dagg, Joe Moody, Nemani Nadolo, Colin Slade.
In recent years he was the undisputed monarch. He won Super Rugby from 2017 until the pandemic put a stop to club competition in the Southern Hemisphere. In the SR Aotearoa he shouted champion again last year and has already qualified for the final of the current tournament. The Christchurch team today is littered with rimbobant names like Richie Mo’unga as flag: Sevu Reece, Jack Goodhue, Kieran Read, Codie Taylor, Scott Barrett, Joe Moody, George Bridge and Will Jordan they make the Reds a team that rarely knows defeat. A history full of glory that awaits Pablo Matera to live a dream year.