Pack down with Super Rugby tips for the 2019 final between two-time defending champs the Crusaders and history-chasing underdogs the Jaguares.
17:35 (AEST), Sat 6th Jul @ Christchurch Stadium
History: Played 2: Crusaders 2 V Jaguares 0
Last meeting: Round 8, 2018: Crusaders 40 d Jaguares 14 at Jose Amalfitani Stadium
Final Thoughts: A first-time finalist is the only thing standing in the way of a three-peat for Super Rugby’s most dominant franchise.
The Crusaders are looking to replicate their 1998-2000 – the only other team to win three straight Super Rugby finals. The Jaguares, meanwhile, stormed into the final in their fourth season and just their second playoffs campaign.
The Crusaders finished top of the table again with 11 wins and three draws from 16 matches. They overwhelmed the Highlanders 38-14 in the quarter-finals, before edging out the Hurricanes 30-26 in a controversial semi.
All Blacks stars Scott Barrett and Ryan Crotty are both out injured for the decider. But they have the luxury of brining Test veteran Luke Romano and new All Blacks selection Braydon Ennor into the starting XV.
The South Island superpower boasts a 9-4 record in Super Rugby finals. They have never lost a final at home and are currently on a 29-match unbeaten streak in Christchurch.
The Jaguares topped the South African Conference with an 11-5 record. The Argentinian outfit have won 11 of their last 12 games. After a hard-fought 21-16 quarter-final win over the Chiefs, they crushed the Brumbies 39-7.
The teams have only played twice previously, with the Crusaders winning on both occasions. The beat the newcomers 32-15 in Christchurch in 2016 and prevailed 40-14 in their 2018 visit to Buenos Aries. George Bridge scored the opening two tries of the latter match.
The Jaguares have won nine of their last 10 matches in Australia and New Zealand. But their gutsy, ground-breaking Super Rugby campaign is set to end with a convincing loss to a virtual All Blacks-strength Crusaders side.