Match of the day: The first crusade
WATCH as we bring the first win by the most successful team in Super Rugby history – the Crusaders.
On 30 May 1998 the Crusaders beat the Blues 20-13 at Eden Park in Auckland.
It was the first of three back-to-back titles for the Christchurch-based franchise.
The rise of the Crusaders was remarkable.
After four matches Canterbury were last on the table. They scraped past Natal at home (four tries for, five against). Auckland had ended the pre-knock-out rounds top and so had a home final.
At half-time the score was 3-0 to Canterbury. In the second half the Blues got ahead 10-3, but Canterbury came back to level the scores. Five minutes from the end the score was 13-all. Andrew Mehrtens chipped, the ball eluded two Auckland defenders and James Kerr flopped onto it for a strange try.
For the Auckland Blues
For the Canterbury Crusaders
Tries: Kerr, Maxwell
Cons: Mehrtens 2
Pens: Mehrtens 2
Auckland Blues: Adrian Cashmore, Joeli Vidiri, Eroni Clarke, Lee Stensness, Caleb Ralph, Carlos Spencer, Ofisa Tonu’u, Xavier Rush, Mark Carter, Michael Jones (captain), Robin Brooke, Royce Willis, Olo Brown James Christian, Craig Dowd.
Canterbury Crusaders: Daryl Gibson, James Kerr, Tabai Matson (Tony Marsh), Mark Mayerhofler (Blair Feeney), Norm Barryman (Daryl Lilley), Andrew Mehrtens, Aaron Flynn, Steve Surridge, Scott Robertson (Angus Gardiner), Todd Blackadder (captain), Reuben Thorne, Norm Maxwell, Stu Loe, Mark Hammett, Kevin Nepia (Greg Feek).
Referee: Paddy O’Brien (New Zealand)
Sources: sthisland1 and TPTNZ