Crusaders lay siege to Eden Park, dominate Blues to win Super title

June 18, 2022

Relive our live updates of the Super Rugby Pacific final between the Blues and Crusaders at Eden Park in Auckland.

FT: BLU 7-21

Well that does it from Eden Park. A methodical performance from the Crusaders and they are truly the deserving champions with that effort. For the Blues, the forwards will take a long, hard look at themselves wondering what went wrong with their lineout and scrum tonight. The electric backline at their disposal never got a chance to get going as they never had a platform to work with.

For the Crusaders, the kicking game was superb. The forwards were powerhouse and in the rare moments when they needed to defend, they denied any chances for a comeback.

That's all from us tonight. Thanks for tuning in. Robertson will no doubt be breakdancing shortly.

77min: BLU 7-21 CRU

CRU TRY! I stand corrected - THIS is what will seal it. Crusaders kick it through to corner and Sevu Reece chases. The Blues are back to it first but in sliding in to get it, leave the ball behind and Reece picks it up and trots in to score. For one fan base, that is the best finish possible. For the other, that's just heart-breaking.

73min: BLU 7-16 CRU

That might do it. Rieko Ioane looks to hit the line but he's met by a superb hit from Tom Christie. Christie is then over the ball and Ioane isn't releasing so it's a penalty on the Crusaders 22. Mo'unga clears and gets a lineout for his team near halfway.

72min: BLU 7-16 CRU

The Blues AGAIN lose the lineout off their own throw but the Crusaders knock it on seconds later. Blues scrum 30m from the Crusaders line but time is quickly becoming another opponent for them.

71min: BLU 7-16 CRU

The Crusaders cough it up from the scrum and Christie kicks it ahead. Crusaders recover 10m from their line and Mo'unga clears. Barrett brings it back. Blues looking to make an ident but lose it. Crusaders on the counter attack find space down the right wing but Reece is alone and there's a penalty for playing it on the ground. It leads to a Blues lineout 35m from the Crusaders line. We're entering all or nothing territory here...

68min: BLU 7-16 CRU

Blues manage to wrestle the ball away from the Crusaders but a few phases later, lose it themselves. Crusaders scrum 15m inside the Blues half.

66min: BLU 7-16 CRU

And just when the Blues sniffed a momentum change, the Crusaders pack snatches it back with a massive shove at the scrum! They get the penalty as the Blues collapse and Mo'unga grabs the tee. 45m out from the right, he strikes it true but it's short! Blues clear and the Crusaders will start their attack again!

63min: BLU 7-16 CRU

It is DEAFENING at Eden Park! Crusaders look to rebuild after the restart but Perofeta earns a penalty at the breakdown and the fortress trembles! Blues lineout on halfway and would you believe it, they get a free kick from there! That means they dodge the throw-in and can go to a scrum instead.

60min: BLU 7-16 CRU

BLU TRY! CHRISTIE GETS THE BLUES ON THE BOARD! After his tough error moments before, he puts pressure on at the ensuing scrum, forces the error at the back, gets the ball and darts in to score. Could that be the firestarter? The Eden Park crowd has suddenly come to life thinking so!

58min: BLU 0-16 CRU

A breath-taking passage of play gives the Blues their first real chance of the game as it's Papalii who sparks it with a superb 30m run on the right wing. That gets the Blues on the forward and they storm into the Crusaders' 22. They get an offside penalty but Barrett quick taps looking to keep the instant momentum going. They get 10m shy. Christie looks to pass but he's tapped doing so and it's a knock on! Crusaders with a scrum 10m from their line.

55min: BLU 0-16 CRU

The Blues win the lineout but, as it has all night, another handling error ruins their rare attacking chance. Crusaders look to counter attack but are penalised for playing a man off the ball. Beauden kicks for touch again and it's another lineout which results in another turnover. Crusaders scrum now 15m from halfway. That is the SEVENTH lineout the Blues have lost from their own throw.

53min: BLU 0-16 CRU

A rare mistake from Mo'unga after the dropout and the Blues get a scrum 15 from halfway. Their sole beckon of hope earns them a free kick as the Crusaders front row buckles and they go back to the scrum looking for a penalty. They don't get one from the scrum but they do at the next ruck with hands in it. Beauden Barrett kicks for touch and it's a Blues lineout on the Crusaders 10m line.

51min: BLU 0-16 CRU

Crusaders hit the Blues' line again but despite the relentless attack, it results in the ball being held up. Blues goal line dropout coming up.

49min: BLU 0-16 CRU

It's all falling apart for the Blues now. Crusaders kick it deep shortly after the restart and the Blues bundle the recovery. Crusaders have it 10m from the line and are attacking again. There's an offside advantage and eventually we come back from it. Crusaders smell blood here and turn down the three for a 5m lineout.

46min: BLU 0-16 CRU

CRU PEN! Blues lose ANOTHER lineout! Crusaders are straight on the attack and earn the penalty advantage. Mo'unga grubbers it through for the corner but Lam gets there first so we come back for the penalty. Mo'unga slots it with ease.

Bold call from MacDonald here. Bryce Heem is in... for Roger Tuivasa-Sheck.

44min: BLU 0-13 CRU

Crusaders looking dangerous again and it's with Fainga'anuku down the left wing. Good tackle from Telea bundles him into touch though. Blues lineout on their 22.

42min: BLU 0-13 CRU

Blues look to build some pressure after the Crusaders clear and manage to string together eight phases. Ball goes wide to Papalii and it's a forgetful first touch... Crusaders lineout 15m inside their half.

40min: BLU 0-13 CRU

We're back for the second half and the Blues have brought out Papalii. They'll need him and more from here. Barrett gets it going.

HT: BLU 0-13 CRU

The Crusaders celebrate Bryn Hall's try in the grand final.

It took 40 minutes but finally the Blues buckled and the Crusaders got the reward they were looking for. To say it has been one-way traffic this half would be an understatement. The Crusaders have been dominant, methodical and are executing their gameplay in keep the Blues pinned down inside their 22 to perfection. For the Blues, their one light has been their scrum which has been stable but it has meant very little with how little ball and territory they've had so far. What can MacDonald do at the break to inspire his men because right now, that sodden surface at Eden Park is looking perfect for some Robertson breakdancing in 40 minutes.

Stay with us, we'll be back shortly for the second half of our final at Eden Park!

40min: BLU 0-13 CRU

CRU TRY! Relentlessly the Crusaders make their way closer and closer to the Blues' line until after 10 phases they're just 5m short. They get a penalty advantage. Fainga'anuku storms at the line once more and he's taken down INCHES from the line. But his run has got the Blues defence out of sorts and two phases later, Bryn Hall plots the ball down on the line from the ruck. It's taken 40 minutes but the Crusaders have been rewarded.

37min: BLU 0-6 CRU

With a second penalty the Blues get a lineout 10m inside the Crusaders half. They win it [finally] and get the ball to the backline. It doesn't mean a lot though as the Crusaders swarm in on the ruck and force a penalty. Mo'unga kicks for touch and it's a Crusaders lineout 10m inside the Blues half.

34min: BLU 0-6 CRU

And again the Crusaders are methodical with their kicking. Mo'unga finds space and pins the Blues down with a lineout 10m from their own line. It's another botched lineout and the Crusaders steal another! They storm for the line but the ball is short and it's a penalty to the Blues! Akira Ioane has come from nowhere to get over the top and the Crusaders won't release. Somehow the Blues deny the Crusaders again!

32min: BLU 0-6 CRU

The teams trade kicks off the restart until Sevu Reece looks to bring it back. He chips it over the top but Christie is there for the Blues to recover. He looks for support, finds Lam but the pass doesn't stick and it's a knock on. Crusaders scrum on halfway.

29min: BLU 0-6 CRU

CRU PEN! Crusaders pin the Blues back in their 22 with another low kick. Christie clears but doesn't find touch. Crusaders bring it back into the Blues' half. They earn a penalty advantage for not rolling away, chip it over the top and Mo'unga recovers it! He's brought down 10m from the line, Crusaders try to recycle quickly with numbers to the right but there's a knock on. Comes back for the penalty and Mo'unga slots it.

26min: BLU 0-3 CRU

Crusaders can't hold on from the lineout and it's a knock on. Blues scrum on halfway - and they'll be a lot happier taking that than a lineout at the moment. The feed is clean, it comes to the backline and now it's the Blues' turn for a knock on. Crusaders scrum on halfway.

23min: BLU 0-3 CRU

After losing yet another lineout, the Blues get another chance to correct it with a poor Crusaders clearance. They win the new lineout on the Crusaders' 22 but are penalised moments after for not releasing the ball after Sam Whitelock has got in there and smothered it. Crusaders clear and get a lineout near halfway.

21min: BLU 0-3 CRU

After the Crusaders commit a knock on resulting in a Blues scrum outside their 22, the Blues get an advantage from the scrum but opt to attack instead of milk the penalty! It comes left to Tuivasa-Sheck, he combines with Ioane. Ioane finds Barrett who kicks ahead and Reece has to kick it into touch Blues lineout on the Crusaders' 5m! What a passage!

19min: BLU 0-3 CRU.

Another TMO call in and it's Jack Goodhue getting checked for a collision with Roger Tuivasa-Sheck. It's another head-on-head collision but Tuivasa-Sheck has been hit into Goodue by Davidi Havili, making the situation more complicated. O'Keeffe again sees nothing in it and we carry on! Crusaders lineout on halfway.

18min: BLU 0-3 CRU

Replays show Laulala has made contact with Bower's head but both players are low in the contact. Ref Ben O'Keeffe sees no foul play in it and says play on. We'll head to the scrum inside the Blues' 22.

18min: BLU 0-3 CRU

Finally a reprieve as the Crusaders knock it on coming back to the Blues' 22. We're coming back for a scrum but the TMO has been called in for possible foul play by Nepo Laulala...

17min: BLU 0-3 CRU

Crusaders work a backline move after settling from the dropout and it finishes with a grubber for the corner. The chase is on but Christie wins it and it's another goal line dropout for the Blues. How many waves can they hold off? This is relentless!

16min: BLU 0-3 CRU

CRU NO TRY! The Crusaders work their way towards the Blues line and it's Fainga'anuku who bundles his way over! Finlay Christie is holding him and the ball as he does so it's going upstairs to the TMO. The ref's call on the field is no try as he hasn't seen a clear grounding and replays can't prove otherwise so the Blues dodge yet another bullet. Goal line dropout coming out.

15min: BLU 0-3 CRU

Crusaders clear off the restart and the Blues lose another lineout on halfway. Havili sees the Blues are out of position and kicks for the corner. He's got them a 50-22! Crusaders immediately back on the attack with a lineout 20m from the Blues line.

13min: BLU 0-3 CRU

CRU DROP GOAL! Mo'unga with the first points of the night! Crusaders get a penalty advantage on the Blues 10m off a lineout and Mo'unga figures he'll take a crack. It's an absolute beauty and he's put the Crusaders in front.

12min: BLU 0-0 CRU

Blues win their first lineout of the night but it doesn't get them much reward as Christie's clearance only gets around 10m. Crusaders throw it back in quickly and capitalise on the unsettled Blues defence. They rumble into the Blues' 22. The ball comes to Fainga'anuku and somehow gets a ball away to Taylor on the wing. He's looking to score but another trysaving tackle is delivered. Blues hanging on just here but Crusaders are in control early.

10min: BLU 0-0 CRU

Blues are solid at the scrum and Sotutu runs off the back into the Crusaders' half. Blues look to get their backline going but the Crusaders' rushing defence is superb and shutting them down. Perofeta goes for the high ball with nothing on. Crusaders respond with one of their own and win it. Ball comes to Reece in the midfield who kicks for the corner and finds the line. Blues lineout just inside their 22.

7min: BLU 0-0 CRU

Another sloppy Blues lineout and the Crusaders win it again. They settle and MO'UNGA MAKES A BREAK DOWN THE RIGHT WING! He's looking for support, finds it but the pass can't stick! We're heading to a Blues scrum near halfway but what a spark from Mo'unga.

6min: BLU 0-0 CRU

Blues clear but it gives the Crusaders a lineout on the Blues 22 which they win easily. Ball comes to the midfield as they look to attack again but there's a knock on. Blues counter attack down the left wing and get a penalty with it for offside! Barrett kicks for touch and the Blues have a lineout 10m inside the Crusaders half.

4min: BLU 0-0 CRU

Sloppy lineout from the Blues and Crusaders have the ball. They go down the line to the left wing but the Blues defence gets across in time and force the error as Fainga'anuku looks to score. Blues scrum on their 5m.

2min: BLU 0-0 CRU

Mo'unga goes deep on the kickoff and Perofeta gets it clean. Immediately clears and it's a lineout 10m inside the Blues half. Crusaders win the lineout and go to a maul but nothing on so they attack and get up to the Blues' 22. They work it for nine phases and eventually go wide but the play is bundled into touch. Blues lineout 10m from their line.


Richie Mo'unga gets us going and we're underway at Eden Park!


Coterie performs the national anthem and the Eden Park crowd join in wholeheartedly. You can't help but get goosebumps listening. How good is it to hear the home of rugby at full voice again? Fingers crossed it continues.


Teams are making their way out now. Crusaders are out first and there's a warm reception for them despite being the away team. Patches of red in the Eden Park stands certainly help with that. But with the Blues making their way out there is a notable difference in crowd volume.


We're getting close to game time now but before the whistle goes, 1News Sport's Jordan Oppert caught with one Crusaders who is yet to know what it's like to win a title. Watch and read her chat with Pablo Matera here.


Needless to say, it's a little bit wet at Eden Park. Come game time it will be very wet underfoot for the players and there will be more rain coming down from overhead. That hasn't stopped the crowds from flocking in though - whether it will be the full 43,000 remains to be seen but there's plenty of umbrellas and rainjackets out already.


Hoskins Sotutu makes a run against the Crusaders.

An unstoppable force will meet an immovable object when the Blues take on the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Pacific final at Auckland's Eden Park on Saturday.

The championship decider pits the attacking prowess of the host Blues on a 15-match winning streak against a Crusaders side that made a record 222 tackles against the Chiefs in the semi-finals to protect their perfect record in home playoffs.

With Australia's last team, the Brumbies, falling narrowly to the Blues last the weekend, the all-New Zealand final will play out in front of a sold-out stadium with players from both sides also keen to stake claims for All Blacks starting spots.

"This is set for a great occasion and is an opportunity to seal an excellent season in front of a full house at Eden Park," Blues coach Leon MacDonald said.

"We need to buckle down, do the basics right, provide good front-foot ball for our backs, and focus on doing the basics right, with discipline both with and without the ball."

The Blues finished top at the end of the regular season and are desperate to prove themselves against the 10-times champion Crusaders, who have consistently set the benchmark in the southern hemisphere competition.

The Blues won last year's one-off trans-Tasman tournament, their first championship in nearly 20 years, but the Crusaders picked up the domestic Aotearoa title, giving the South Islanders and their coach Scott Robertson a fifth crown in as many years.

The Blues' long slump before their recent revival has kept the teams apart at the sharp end of seasons but an intense rivalry built in the days of the Super 12 competition has been reawakened.

The Blues won the last time the pair clashed for the title, a 21-17 victory at home in 2003, avenging their 1998 defeat away to the Crusaders.

MacDonald, who was Robertson's teammate at the Crusaders during that period, has named captain Dalton Papalii on the bench after his recovery from appendicitis but the All Blacks flanker needs to prove himself with a late fitness test.

Robertson has brought back stalwart lock Sam Whitelock from a thumb injury in his only change to the Crusaders starting 15.

"We had a few sore bodies following the huge defensive effort last week, but everyone has come through the week really well," Robertson said.

With the All Blacks' series against Ireland kicking off next month, players on both sides have plenty to prove.

Beauden Barrett's standout season for the Blues have many pundits picking him as Ian Foster's starting flyhalf against the Irish, but Crusaders playmaker Richie Mo'unga may have something to say about that.



15. Stephen Perofeta, 14. AJ Lam, 13. Rieko Ioane, 12. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 11. Mark Telea, 10. Beauden Barrett (capt), 9. Finlay Christie, 8. Hoskins Sotutu, 7. Adrian Choat, 6. Akira Ioane, 5. Tom Robinson, 4. Josh Goodhue, 3. Nepo Laulala, 2. Kurt Eklund, 1. Alex Hodgman

Reserves: 16. Soane Vikena, 17. Karl Tu'inukuafe, 18. Ofa Tuungafasi, 19. Luke Romano, 20. Dalton Papalii, 21. Sam Nock, 22. Bryce Heem, 23. Zarn Sullivan

Coach: Leon MacDonald


15. Will Jordan, 14. Sevu Reece, 13. Jack Goodhue, 12. David Havili, 11. Leicester Fainga'anuku, 10. Richie Mo'unga, 9. Bryn Hall, 8. Cullen Grace, 7. Tom Christie, 6. Pablo Matera, 5. Sam Whitelock, 4. Scott Barrett (capt), 3. Oli Jager, 2. Codie Taylor, 1. George Bower

Reserves: 16. Brodie McAlister, 17. Tamaiti Williams, 18. Fletcher Newell, 19. Quenten Strange, 20. Corey Kellow, 21. Mitch Drummond, 22. Braydon Ennor, 23. George Bridge

Coach: Scott Robertson


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