Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder believes it would be something “special” if his side can overcome the Reds in the Super Rugby play-off final this weekend.
The Crusaders have been forced to play all of their home games on the road this season after the earthquake that devastated Christchurch and the surrounding areas rendered their AMI stadium unsafe to play in.
Blackadder believes that victory on Saturday would represent a remarkable achievement given the adversity his side have had to face this season.
“I think it would be one of those ones you’ll remember forever,” said Blackadder, a former captain of the Crusaders.
“You remember all of them but this one would be a little bit special in the fact there’s been a lot to play for this year. We know who we’re playing for, all of our people back home.”
The Crusaders have travelled a remarkable 100,000 km in order to fulfil their fixture obligations and Blackadder was keen to state that the effects of travelling to Brisbane for the final would have little effect on his team.
“We’ve become used to it now, we are good to go.” He commented.
Part of their travelling involved a journey to London to face the Sharks in the first ever Super Rugby game played in the Northern Hemisphere, a game veteran Crusaders lock Brad Thorn said made up what had become a memorable season.
Thorn said: “This one… it’s been a big 10 months back there [in Christchurch]. I feel a responsibility, there’s more to this game,” he said. “In the past when I’ve played grand finals it’s been about the team and you share it with the fans as well. This time I really feel this is something for the people back there.”
“I know this is something that would be very special for them. I imagine it will have a great impact.”
In the way of their fairy-tale ending are the Reds, who have been the in-form team of the season and have been backed by that majority of free bets. Having topped the combined Super Rugby table, the Reds defeated the Blues on their way to the final in Brisbane.