The Wrap: The Crusaders do it once again for Christchurch
The Wrap: The Crusaders do it once again for Christchurch.Photo: . Pictures may be protected by copyright.
By any measure it’s been an awful decade for Christchurch. A major earthquake in 2011 killed 185 people, injured many more and left an indelible mark on a city that is still years away from being properly remedied. For some people, many of them
By any measure it’s been an awful decade for Christchurch. A major earthquake in 2011 killed 185 people, injured many more and left an indelible mark on a city that is still years away from being properly remedied. For some people, many of them elderly, fear and the lack of control of their own destiny still impacts upon their daily lives. Fear that if a quake happened once it could happen again. And where relocating away from support networks is out of the question, the severely diminished value of their homes curtailing other options. Psyche is impacted too in the form of lost landmarks; Christchurch’s central cathedral, where a rebuilding project is hoped to gather pace next year, and the Lancaster Park rugby stadium, finally demolished last year, but with replacement options still only at the ‘concept’ stage. Further tragedy struck on March 15th this year when 51 people were murdered in a gunfire attack on two city mosques. Australian Brenton Tarrant has pleaded not guilty to total of 92 charges relating to the incident and will face trial in May next year, ensuring months and years of ongoing pain and sadness, not only for the immediate families of the victims, but all of the community. Throughout such a difficult period, one constant has been the Crusaders. Their 19-3 win in Saturday night’s final against the Jaguares was their 10th title, in 24 seasons of Super Rugby. In addition, they have finished runner-up on four occasions, including that tragic 2011 year, when they were forced to play every single match away from home. Crusaders’ captain Sam Whitelock celebrates with the trophy (MARTY MELVILLE/AFP/Getty Images) In the build-up to this year’s final, sentiment flowed overwhelmingly to the visiting Jaguares. Making the final in only their 4th year in the competition, they have impressed everyone this season with their organisation, discipline and brilliant backline play. By virtue of their newness, an element of South American romanticism, and their second-placed ranking requiring them to travel to Christchurch for the final, they further cemented their status both as underdog and sentimental crowd favourite. All fair enough. But in retrospect, perhaps more of that sentiment should have resided with the home side. While rugby is not at the forefront of every Cantabrian’s thinking, let us not underestimate the gratification the Crusaders bring a city that has experienced such intense suffering. It has been suggested by some writers and fans that the same team winning three consecutive titles equates to boredom and a competition that has gone stale. I’d suggest instead that it is a reward for sustained excellence, and a benchmark that other teams – if they really want to become better – should aspire to. More Rugby The Wrap: The Crusaders do it once again for Christchurch Super Rugby team of the week: The final Talking points from the All Blacks squad announcement Six talking points from the Super Rugby final Crusaders fight past Jaguares to make it three straight Super Rugby titles