Clash of the titans

Rajnesh Ishwar Lingam,Nadawa, Nasinu | Friday, May 19, 2017
THE much-anticipated clash between Super Rugby's most successful team and the Chiefs in Chiefs' country is bound to attract a sellout crowd.

Those who have been lucky enough to purchase a ticket to witness the clash between two teams that have a rich Super Rugby history will not return home disappointed. The Crusaders have won the competition a record seven times, but the Chiefs have won the title twice.

The Crusaders are the only team to have achieved a hat-trick. The Blues (1996-97), Bulls (2009-10) and Chiefs (2012-13) have come close to achieving a three-peat only to fall short.

The Crusaders 11-match unbeaten run has been the best start for the powerhouses after so many years.

The Crusaders' winning reign started with the hat-trick from 1998-2000.

After beating the Waratahs in 2002, the Crusaders, then sponsored by Ford, completed a double in 2005 and 2006 and then won the title for the last time in 2008 under Robbie Deans.

Since its inception, the Crusaders unearthed rugby greats like Carter, McCaw, Chris Jack, the Hammet and Mauger brothers, Justin Marshall, Blair, Mehrtens, Hamilton, Blackadder (the former coach), Gear, Somerville, Broomhall and Daryl Gibson (Waratahs' coach).

Current coach Scott Robertson, who featured for the rugby giants from 1996-2003, played 86 games and scored 16 tries. He knows what Super Rugby means to every Crusader.

Former Fijians to have donned the famous Crusaders jersey include Paula Bale and Filipe Rayasi (1996-97), Vunibaka (2000-2004), Delasau (2005), Patrick Osborne, Nadolo and lately Macilai, Seta and Mataele.

The presence of these Crusaders players in their former schools would have touched hearts and brought back memories of the good old days when they were schooling in Fiji.

Likewise, it was a proud moment for Michael Leitch when he landed in Nausori where he was greeted by his mum, dad and fans.

The Chiefs tasted victory last year, but this year I am banking on the Crusaders to come up with a spectacular performance to shut out the chances of a Chiefs win.

My best wishes to the Crusaders in getting maximum points.

I say thank you so much Litiana Loabuka, the Fiji Sports Council and the Gallagher Chiefs for bringing this all important and brutal New Zealand affair to Fiji!

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