The 2019 Super rugby season reaches its climax this weekend as the Grand Final takes place from 5.35pm on Saturday evening! See our preview and tips for the massive clash between the Crusaders and Jaguares below!
On Saturday night, the Crusaders will take on the Jaguares for Super Rugby glory in 2019. The home side will be after an incredible 3rd straight Super Rugby title after defeating the Lions in 2017 and 2018. Following another regular season on top of the standings, the Crusaders easily beat the Highlanders 38-14 in the Quarters. They faced a tough challenge by the Hurricanes in the Semi-Final last week as they held off their rivals for a 30-26 victory. Richie Mo'unga was enormous for the Crusaders, scoring 20 points and Sevu Reece continued his red-hot try-scoring form with a double. So they deserve clear favouritism for this final with home-field advantage. But the Jaguares are going to be hungry in what will be their first-ever Super Rugby Grand Final.
Since joining the competition in 2016, the Jaguares have improved in every season and reached the finals for the first time in 2018. So they took that confidence into an impressive 2019 campaign, that they will hope turns into a title. Their home record was one of the best in the competition with 8 wins from 10 in the regular season. Then in the finals, they beat a tough challenger in the Chiefs and absolutely thrashed the in-form Brumbies last week. The question mark is obviously how they prepare to face the Crusaders in Christchurch, which is the toughest trip in Super Rugby at the moment. In away games this season, they finished with a positive 5-3 record and played well in their only trip to New Zealand. In Round 14, they were impressive in a 28-20 victory over the Hurricanes at Westpac Stadium and previously played in a close loss to the Highlanders, 32-27.
The key in this Grand Final will be which team starts the stronger because the Jaguares have proven to be pretty much unstoppable in second halves. As such, they've outscored their opponents in 12 of their last 13 second halves. While in the 2019 finals, they've allowed just 6 total points in the second half. The Jaguares also should look at how the Hurricanes almost stormed home against the Crusaders last week, outscoring the home side 19-17.
In the head to head history, the two sides have met only twice and it's been all the Crusaders. The last meeting was played in Argentina where the Crusaders led 19-0 at the half and won 40-14 in the end. While the only matchup at this venue was played in 2016 with the home side earning a 32-15 victory. Obviously, the Jaguares are a much better side at the moment after 7 wins on the trot and hopefully, they can overcome the travel factor.
There are not many weaknesses for the Crusaders but one trend sticks out this season. After a win, they hold a fairly poor 5-8 ATS record. So if the Jaguares can hold firm in the first half, they should finish well in the second half and cover the line in this final. Enjoy the game!
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