The Crusaders knew their most important job in beating the Jaguares and winning their 10th Super Rugby title was to slow down the South Americans’ ball and put pressure on their playmakers.
They did both on Saturday in Christchurch as they ground out a tense 19-3 victory over the Argentine side to clinch a “three-peat” of titles under coach Scott Robertson.
The final, however, was far from easy with the visitors showing the most enterprise and stretching the Crusaders defence to breaking point on several occasions before they were repelled at every opportunity.
Of the win, Robertson says: “Defence won it for us. Matt Todd made 100 tackles and we just found a way.”
Loose forward Todd, who actually made 15 tackles, added the team had worked on slowing down the pace of the Jaguares’ game, knowing they could win the match if they engaged them in an arm wrestle for possession.
Todd says: “We knew we had to front, especially the forward pack.
“They have got big ball runners and if they get a roll on it’s a tough night.
“We had to front up and try to slow their ball down and not let them get any rhythm.
“It was probably not the most exciting...”
Crusaders hooker Codie Taylor scored the only try of the match.
Try: Codie Taylor;
Conversion: Richie Mo'unga;
Penalties: Mo'unga (4).
Penalty: Joaquin Diaz Bonilla.