Super Rugby

It's a 3-peat! Crusaders experience too much for Jaguares

Christchurch - Richie Mo'unga kicked the Crusaders to a record 10th Super Rugby title, and their third in a row, with a 19-3 victory that left the Jaguares in tears in Christchurch on Saturday.

In a match complicated by a slippery ball, the Crusaders scored the only try through Codie Taylor and Mo'unga landed four penalties and a conversion for the defending champions as they beat the Argentines.

To chants of "three-peat" from the capacity home crowd of 18 000, they extended their run to three back-to-back titles, remain unbeaten in their last 31 games on home soil and have won all 24 of their home playoff games since the competition's inception in 1996.

"Thank God for that," coach Scott Robertson said after the final whistle. 

"It was a massive relief, and it was a party tonight even though the rugby was pretty uneventful in a rugby sense in terms of points, on defence it was tough, it was a grind but everyone climbed into it and knew that a bit of history was going to be made."

In a clash of Test-match proportions, with most of the players either All Blacks or Pumas, the Jaguares put up a gallant showing but could not break the Crusaders defence and their forwards melted as the game wore on. 

But their stubborn early resistance and the playing conditions, meant the Crusaders could not make any headway until they abandoned their free-flowing game plan.

"It was actually quite slippery out there so we actually found we were better without the ball than with it," captain Sam Whitelock said.

"So we kicked those contestable kicks a bit more and tried to put their skills under pressure and at times it worked for us."

It was a tactic that also made Crusaders flank Matt Todd and the Jaguares' Pablo Matera the two central figures in the game as they fought for possession.

The Jaguares have been the surprise  of the season, winning their last seven games to make the grand final in only their fourth year in the competition.

They believed they could go all the way, and were unhappy even though they lost to the most successful side in the history of the competition.

"No one likes losing so of course there's a bit of frustration," coach Gonzalo Quesada said.

"Everyone must imagine that the guys should be proud and just happy to be here but the  dressing room is very sad and terrible. They guys are in tears."

The Jaguares produced a rock-solid defensive effort to withstand a powerful opening attack by the Crusaders over the first 10 minutes.

A subtle break by Matais Moroni then put the Jaguares on attack where Joaquin Diaz Bonilla opened the scoring with a 40-metre penalty. 

With the game marred by multiple handling errors - the result of a ball made slippery from the combined effects of heavy rain during the day and dew in the evening - the only try came in the 25th minutes when Todd stole the ball and lock Whitelock stormed 20 metres before passing inside for Taylor to score. 

Mo'unga landed the conversion and a penalty on half-time for the defending champions to turn around with a seven point advantage. 

Moroni, the standout right wing for the Jaguares, was denied a try at the start of the second half from a kick-and-chase effort that was shut down by Jack Goodhue on the line. 

From there the Crusaders went up several gears and while they could not score another try Mo'unga landed three more penalties, two of them from the destructive efforts of the Crusaders pack at scrum time.

Scorers

Crusaders

Try: Codie Taylor

Conversion: Richie Mo'unga

Penalties: Mo'unga (4)

Jaguares

Penalty: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla

Teams

Crusaders

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

Substitutes: 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

Substitutes: 16 Julian Montoya, 17 Mayco Vivas, 18 Enrique Pieretto, 19 Juan Manuel Leguizamon, 20 Tomas Lezana, 21 Felipe Ezcurra, 22 Domingo Miotti, 23 Sebastian Cancelliere

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