Crusaders vs Jaguares: A statistical look at the 2019 Super Rugby final
And then there were two.
Five months of super rugby action culminates with the most successful franchise in Super Rugby history chasing immortality, against a Jaguares side that has gone from making up the numbers to African Conference champions in 2019.
The rise of the Argentinian based side this season has been extraordinary when you consider they finished 13th in 2016 in their inaugural season, to now challenge for the title only three years later against the Crusaders.
The home side remains the benchmark for domestic rugby in the southern hemisphere and will be chasing their third consecutive Super Rugby title. The New Zealand side has featured in the showpiece event a record 14 times, winning nine of their previous 13 on the bounce.
We’ve broken down the stats that matter for the 2019 Super Rugby Final.
Home Ground Advantage
The land of the long white cloud has provided a formidable advantage for the home side. The Crusaders are undefeated in their last 30 matches played on home soil; with their last defeat at home coming at the hands of the Melbourne Rebels, in Round 1 of 2015 (20-10).
The Crusaders are well ahead in the head-to-head stakes, winning the last two encounters by an average of 22 points.
First Appearance in a Super Rugby Final
Jaguares will have to defy history to lift the trophy on Saturday, only four sides have won the Super Rugby title on their first attempt (Blues in 1996, Crusaders in 1998, Bulls in 2007 and the Reds in 2011).
The visitors will be confident of making history, winning five of their last six matches away from home.
These two sides have proven to be the two best attacking sides in the Super Rugby competition this season. The Crusaders (33.2) and Jaguares (29.2) have scored more points per game than any other side in 2019.
The Crusaders backline has done the damage for the home side. Sevu Reece (Crusaders) bagged a brace of tries against the Hurricanes in the semi-final to take his season tally to 15, just one shy of the Super Rugby record set by Ben Lam last season (16).
Jaguares Key Players
Jaguares dominated the Brumbies in the semi-final thanks to the efforts of flanker Pablo Matera. Matera has been a standout in 2019 with 6 tries, 162 carries and 22 offloads, while Matias Orlando scored two tries, a try assist, two offloads, and made 10/10 tackles against the Brumbies, not missing a single attempt.
The Stats Insider model rates the Crusaders an 86% chance of lifting the trophy this weekend. The Crusaders won’t have things all of their own way, with nine of the last 13 Super Rugby Finals decided by a margin of 10-points or less. But an All Black filled line-up and a one-sided home crowd should be enough to get the Crusaders over the line for the three-peat.