The Crusaders won their 10th Super Rugby title on Saturday with a 19-3 victory over the Jaguares in the Final in Christchurch.
It is also the Crusaders’ third straight title after winning it in 2017 and 2018 as well.
Scott Robertson’s side scored the only try in what was a bruising encounter from start to finish.
Flyhalf Richie Mo’unga contributed 14 points with the boot, while the Jaguares’ only points of the game came via a Joaquin Diaz Bonilla penalty.
It was a strong defensive display by the Crusaders but the Jaguares will be kicking themselves for wasting several try-scoring opportunities.
The Crusaders dominated possession and territory early in the game, but it was the Jaguares who opened scoring with a Bonilla penalty in the 16th minute.
The defending champions were making uncharacteristic mistakes with ball in hand and they were also rattled by some big tackles from the Jaguares.
However, Robertson’s side eventually opened their account in the 25th minute when Codie Taylor found his way to the tryline.
The Crusaders turned the ball over from a maul before the ball was spread to the blindside to captain Sam Whitelock who sprinted downfield before sending a neat inside ball to Taylor who scrambled his way to the tryline.
Mo’unga was successful with the conversion and the Crusaders were 7-3 ahead after 26 minutes.
The Jaguares nearly found themselves back in front in the 37th after an excellent offload from Pablo Matera put Matias Moroni into space down the touchline. However, the wing lost the ball into contact a metre from the tryline.
Instead, it was the Crusaders who had the final say in the half with Mo’unga slotting a penalty after the half-time hooter sounded to give his team a seven-point lead going into the break.
The Jaguares came out with great intent in the second half, but they squandered another try-scoring opportunity in the 43rd minute near the Crusaders’ tryline after some enterprising play by Moroni down the touchline.
The Crusaders nearly got a try themselves in the 52nd minute after some clever deception near the Jaguares’ tryline.
After a being awarded a penalty, it seemed as though the Crusaders were going for line-out, but Mo’unga took a quick tap instead and fed the ball to his forwards who drove over the tryline before being held up.
However, a few minutes later the Crusaders eventually extended their lead after Mo’unga converted a penalty into three points.
The Jaguares were struggling with their discipline and another infringement allowed the Crusaders flyhalf to push his team’s lead to 13 points in the 59th minute.
The Jaguares tried their best to get back into the game, but the game was well and truly put to bed in the 75th minute when Mo’unga landed a monster penalty for a 16-point lead and in the process securing another Super Rugby title.
Man of the match: Richie Mo’unga was cool under pressure once again, while David Havili was a constant threat with the ball. Matias Moroni had a few good runs for the Jaguares and scrumhalf Tomas Cubelli was outstanding in the first half. However, the award goes to Crusaders flank Matt Todd who gave his all throughout the match. He was a menace at the breakdowns and he put in some big tackles as well.
Pens: Mo’unga 4
Pen: Diaz Bonilla
15 David Havili, 14 Sevu Reece, 13 Braydon Ennor, 12 Jack Goodhue, 11
George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt
Todd, 6 Whetukamokamo Douglas, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Mitchell
Dunshea, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 George Bower, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Will Jordan.
Jaguares: 15 Emiliano Boffelli, 14
Matias Moroni, 13 Matias Orlando, 12 Jeronimo de la Fuente (captain), 11
Ramiro Moyano, 10 Joaquin Diaz Bonilla, 9 Tomas Cubelli, 8 Javier
Ortega Desio, 7 Marcos Kremer, 6 Pablo Matera, 5 Tomas Lavanini, 4 Guido
Petti, 3 Santiago Medrano, 2 Agustin Creevy, 1 Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro.
Replacements: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Juan Manuel Leguizamón, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Sebastián Cancelliere.
Referee: Jaco Peyper
Assistant referees: Mike Fraser, Paul Williams
TMO: Ben Skeen