We all need the Crusaders to lose. I'm speaking on behalf of the neutral fan here. But to turn the final match of SRA into a virtual final itself, the defending champs need to lose another game.
With only 3 rounds of the comp left the Christchurch crowd hold just a slender two point lead over the Blues with the added bonus of a game in hand. Any sort of victory in either tomorrow night's match vs the Chiefs or the following week home the Highlanders will put Razor's mob in an unassailable position before the Eden Park swansong,something none of us neutrals are wanting to see.
Robertson was bang on the money post-match last weekend when he intimated that the rest of the country would've loved the Hurricanes nipping that win. And not in any sort of nasty way, more a mark of respect in knowing how difficult it is to gain any advantage over the 3-peat champs plus raising hopes of this mouth-watering prospect of a final game with everything to play for. Of course, to make this happen, the Blues and/or Hurricanes will also need to maintain their winning runs - something that isn't in any way guaranteed given the overall closeness of a competition that's seen precious little in the way of scoreline blowouts.
Can the Chiefs win tomorrow night? Absolutely they can. Don't forget they've already won this fixture once this year, 25-15 back in early Feb. In fact the Chiefs won four of their first five games before Covid came along and stymied the original version of the 2020 Super Rugby season. Which means they aren't a bad side and, statistically, you'd think should win at least once this time round. The Hurricanes proved last weekend that the champs are fallible. Just how so we'll get to see in the next two rounds. But anything other than another defeat and they'll be crowned before a final round ball is kicked.
Here's hoping, for all fans outside their catchment area, that everything does somehow align with everything to play for at Eden Park in just over a fortnight's time. A final match that doubles as its own final would be the most brilliant way to cap off what's been a cracker of a comp. And let's not forget, a comp with crowds! Just when you start thinking this is the norm, flick on any of the overseas sport for a few minutes be it EPL, MLB, the NBA about to start, NHL, whatever it might be and remind yourself of how empty it all feels without the fans.
Well done again NZ. It's one thing having sport back. And just so much better still with people in the stands.