The Crusaders have dominated the ladder-topping Blues to win the Super Rugby Pacific final 21-7 at a sold-out Eden Park in Auckland.
The powerhouse Christchurch-based franchise claimed a record-extending 11th Super Rugby crown as they snapped the Blues’ 15-match winning streak with a ruthless display in wet and slippery conditions.
Halfback Bryn Hall’s converted short-range try in the 39th minute gave the Crusaders a 13-0 half-time lead, following an earlier drop goal and penalty goal from playmaker Richie Mo’unga.
Mo’unga added a penalty after half time before halfback Finlay Christie finally got the Blues on the scoreboard in the 59th minute with an opportunistic try, converted by Stephen Perofeta.
The introduction of regular skipper Dalton Papali’i off the bench added momentum for the Blues as they threatened a comeback from 16-7 down.
But the Crusaders sealed the win when flanker Pablo Matera kicked ahead and winger Sevu Reece won the the race to pick up the bobbling ball and score in the 76th minute.
The Crusaders also won the all-New Zealand Super Aotearoa titles during the pandemic-affected seasons of 2020 and 2021.
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