Nigel Yalden: Crusaders vs Jaguares Super Rugby final preview

Author
Nigel Yalden,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Friday, 5 July 2019, 10:35AM
Photo / Photosport.co.nz
Photo / Photosport.co.nz

By NIGEL YALDEN

And then there were two. Tomorrow night the Crusaders take on the Jaguares in the final of Super Rugby 2019. While the Crusaders are chasing a three-peat, the Jaguaaes are looking to create their own piece of history. Radio Sport Rugby Editor Nigel Yalden has gone through the two teams, man by man, position by position, crunching the numbers along the way to try and determine who holds the advantage and where for the competition decider at Orangetheory Stadium in Christchurch:

FRONT ROW

1. Joe Moody vs 3. Santiago Medrano - CRUSADERS

Moody has been giving opposition tighthead prop kittens this season and look for him to put early pressure on Medrano who has been efficient at scrum time; both have been very good around the field in 2019.

Appearances: Medrano 17 (877mins; 52 per gm) Moody 14 (747 mins; 53 per gm)

Runs: Medrano 60 – Moody 54

Metres Made: Moody 207 (3.8m/run) Medrano 211 (3.5m/run)

Tackles Made/Missed: Moody 95/3 (97%) Medrano 149/8 (95%)

2. Codie Taylor vs. Agustin Creevy – JAGUARES

Two of the best hookers in world rugby though they fill the role in different ways for their respective teams - Creevy tighter; Taylor with licence to roam a bit more though still effective at the coal face. While Taylor looked more like the player we know him to be in the semi-final last week, Creevy has been outstanding as the “one” in the “one/two punch” that he and Julian Montoya provide the Jaguares

Appearances: Creevy 14 (608 mins; 43 per gm) Taylor 9 (476 mins; 53 per gm)

Runs: Creevy 67 Taylor 54

Metres Made: Taylor 304 (5.6m/run) Creevy 283 (4.2m/run)

Tackles Made/Missed: Taylor 57/5 (92%) Creevy 84/9 (90%)

3. Owen Franks vs 1. Nahuel Tetaz Chaparro - CRUSADERS

The Crusaders scrum is noticeably different when Franks is at tighthead than when he is not. Tetaz Chaparro is a surprise starter ahead of Mayco Vivas and that’s a risk because while he is more experienced, Tetaz Chaparro has struggled against New Zealand opposition particularly at scrum time

Appearances: Tetaz Chaparro 12 (433 mins; 36 per gm) Franks 6 (296 mins; 49 per gm)

Runs: Tetaz Chaparro 30 Franks 21

Metres Made: Tetaz Chaparro 114 (3.8m/run) Franks 66 (3.1m/run)

Tackles Made/Missed: Franks 47/5 (90%) Tetaz Chaparro 51/10 (84%)

Collectively – CRUSADERS

Five of the six players do their core roles very well – the other slightly less so - but the advantage that the Crusaders scrum has had in most encounters this season gets them the edge in this contest within the contest

Scrum Success: Crusaders 93% Jaguares 86%

SECOND ROW

4. Mitchell Dunshea vs 5. Tomas Lavanini – JAGUARES

Whilst he still has the odd rush of blood to the head, Lavanini has developed into a really good lock forward and has been excellent in tandem with Petti this season. It’s a big ask for

young Dunshea but his effort for the Provincial Barbarians against the Lions two years ago tells me he is fearless on the field and will relish this type of challenge

Appearances: Lavanini 17 (920 mins; 54 per gm) Dunshea 5 (233 mins; 47 mins per gm)

Runs: Lavanini 97 Dunshea 21

Metres Made: Lavanini 403 (4.2m/run) Dunshea 148 (7m/run)

Lineout Wins - Own Ball: Lavanini 23 Dunshea 8

Lineout Wins - Opposition Ball: Lavanini 2 Dunshea 1

Tackles Made/Missed: Dunshea 19/2 (90%) Lavanini 113/26 (81%)

5. Sam Whitelock © vs 4. Guido Petti – EVEN

Whitelock continues to play to a very high standard and has captained the side in his usual calm and considered manner while Petti has been colossal this season both as the primary lineout target and oft used ball runner – KEY SET PIECE BATTLE

Appearances: Petti 16 (1222 mins; 76 per gm) Whitelock 11 (819 mins; 74 per gm)

Runs: - Petti 102 Whitelock 39

Metres Made: Whitelock 207 (5.3m/run) Petti 460 (4.5m/run)

Lineout Wins - Own Ball: Petti 73 Whitelock 31

Lineout Wins - Opposition Ball: Petti 11 Whitelock 3

Tackles Made/Missed: Whitelock 90/9 (91%) Petti 142/15 (90%)

Collectively - JAGUARES

The absence of Scott Barrett cannot be understated (though as you may have guessed, I’m a big fan of Mitchell Dunshea) while the Petti/Lavanini combination has grown steadily over the course of their time together at Super Rugby and International level with discipline the obvious area of significant improvement, but also challenging on opposition lineout throws a lot more aggressively.

Lineout Success: Jaguares 91.8% Crusaders 87.2%

LOOSE FORWARDS

6. Whetukamokamo Douglas vs 7. Marco Kremer - EVEN

Two out-and-out workaholics who will run, tackle, clean out, support and generally do whatever they sides want of them during their time on the field. Douglas is a key lineout forward for the home side while Kremer, along with Matera, will lead the ball carrying for the visitors

Appearances: Kremer 17 (1023 mins; 60 per gm) Douglas 15 (858 mins; 57 per gm)

Runs: Kremer 123 Douglas 91

Metres Made: Kremer 576 (4.7m/run) Douglas 441 (4.8m/run)

Lineout Wins - Own Ball: Douglas 32 – Kremer 13

Tackles Made/Missed: Douglas 143/14 (91%) – Kremer 177/31 (85%)

7. Matt Todd vs 6. Pablo Matera – JAGUARES

If SANZAAR got their act together and did season awards, Matera would have been one of the finalist for MVP of Super Rugby. He has been immense in every facet as he’s set the tone for the Jaguares forward pack. However these are the games where the untiring Todd seems to find another gear so whilst I give Matera the edge, it is by the merest of margins and this will be a wee beaut of a battle within the battle – KEY BREAKDOWN BATTLE

Appearances: Matera 16 (1103 mins; 69 per gm) Todd 14 (1050 mins; 75 per gm)

Runs: Matera 128 Todd 71

Metres Made: Matera 709 (5.5m/run) Todd 303 (4.3m/run)

Tackles Made/Missed: Todd 187/19 (91%) Matera 162/19 (90%)

8. Kieran Read vs Javier Ortega Desio – CRUSADERS

We are not seeing much of the flashy stuff from the All Black captain, but by gees he’s been putting in some big shifts in terms of ball carrying and defence in the last month. Ortega Desio is a wonderful compliment to those around him and you can expect that these two players will find each other – with force – several times through the match.

Appearances: Ortega Desio 17 (1066 mins; 63 per gm) Read 10 (741 mins; 74 per gm)

Runs: Read 83 Ortega Desio 44

Metres Made: Ortega Desio 279 (6.3m/run) Read 443 (5.3m/run)

Lineout Wins - Own Ball: Ortega Desio 47 Read 27

Lineout Wins - Opposition Ball: Ortega Desio 3 Read 2

Tackles Made/Missed: Read 99/12 (89%) Ortega Desio 94/22 (81%)

Collectively – EVEN

Two wonderfully complimentary loose forward trios & try as I might, I can’t separate them

Ruck Success: Crusaders 96% Jaguares 96%

INSIDE BACKS

9. Bryn Hall vs Tomas Cubelli – EVEN

Cubelli directs a lot of the Jaguares play from the base of the ruck and his vision and direction will be pivotal to the visitors’ success. But let’s not forget, Bryn Hall has started, and played very well, in the last two Super Rugby finals in which his side was victorious. Both are excellent in their main tasks, run good support lines and are happy to have a snipe if the opportunity presents

Appearances: Cubelli 16 (945 mins; 59 per gm) Hall 16 (780 mins; 49 per gm)

Try Assists: Cubelli 4 Hall 2

Line Break Assists: Cubelli 9 Hall 6

Kicking Metres: Cubelli 2125 (132.8m/gm; 27.8m/kick) Hall 1509 (94.3m/gm; 22.5m/kick)

Tackles Made/Missed: Cubelli 80/13 (86%) Hall 58/19 (75%)

10. Richie Mo’unga vs Joaquim Diaz Bonilla – CRUSADERS

Vastly contrasting players in this position; Mo’unga drives the game and can bust it open at the drop of a hat while Diaz Bonilla is a steady and efficient game controller who is the better defender of the two

Appearances: Mo’unga 15 (1069 mins; 71 per gm) Diaz Bonilla (916 mins; 65 per /gm)

Try Assists: Mo’unga 9 – Diaz Bonilla 9

Line Breaks: Mo’unga 11 – Diaz Bonilla 4

Line Break Assists: Mo’unga 10 – Diaz Bonilla 6

Goal Kicking Percentage: Mo’unga 60/79 (75%) – Diaz Bonilla 47/62 (75%)

Kicking Metres: Diaz Bonilla 4250 (303.6/gm; 34m/kick) Mo’unga 2653 (176.9m/gm; 30.1m/kick)

Tackles Made/Missed: Diaz Bonilla 56/12 (82%) – Mo’unga 66/30 (69%)

Collectively – CRUSADERS

Hall and Mo’unga are a two time Super Rugby winning 9/10 combination and those previous successes will be huge against a duo dealing with finals pressure for the first time, irrespective of their own degree of international experiences.

MIDFIELD BACKS

12. Jack Goodhue vs Jeronimo de la Fuente © - EVEN

Both are physical, skilful and smart and while Goodhue is playing out of the position, his maturity beyond his years makes this a cracking match up

Appearances: Goodhue 14 (1057 mins; 76 per gm) de la Fuente 13 (935 mins; 72 per gm)

Line Breaks: Goodhue 3 de la Fuente 3

Line Break Assists: Goodhue 7 de la Fuente 2

Metres Gained: Goodhue 713 (7.4m/run) de la Fuente 401 (5.6m/run)

Tackles Made/Missed: Goodhue (84%) de la Fuente 105/26 (80%)

13. Braydon Ennor vs Matias Orlando – EVEN

Newly minted All Blacks Ennor is playing in his preferred position but will need to be a bit sharper, particularly on defence, than he was last week when he slotted in after the injury to Ryan Crotty. Orlando is in career best form this season; he doesn’t mind running the hard lines in attack and is a very good defensive centre.

Appearances: Orlando 16 (978 mins; 61 per gm) Ennor 16 (935 min; 58 per gm)

Line Breaks: Ennor 15 Orlando 7

Line Break Assists: Orlando 4 Ennor 1

Metres Gained: Ennor 773 (11m/run) Orlando 737 (9.8m/run)

Tackles Made/Missed: Orlando 122/21 (85%) Ennor 61/17 (78%)

Collectively – JAGUARES

Solely on the basis that de la Fuente and Orlando have played a lot more rugby together than Goodhue and Ennor have – KEY BACK LINE BATTLE

BACK THREE

11. George Bridge vs 14. Matias Moroni – EVEN

Just a couple of well-rounded rugby players squaring off here; Bridge better under the high ball, Moroni a stronger defender, both excellent finishers at the end of the chain

Appearances: Moroni 17 (1112 mins; 65 per gm) Bridge 12 (885 mins; 74 per gm)

Tries: Moroni 5 Bridge 4

Line Breaks: Bridge 12 Moroni 4

Metres Gained: Bridge 919 (10.1m/run) Moroni 489 (9.2m/run)

Tackles Made/Missed: Moroni 86/18 (83%) Bridge 40/12 (77%)

14 Sevu Reece vs 11. Ramiro Moyano – JAGUARES

What! A! Matchup! These two blokes are quicker than a hiccup; can stop on a dime, can take a gap, have wonder skills and possess, as the great Earle Kirton likes to say, GAAAAAAASSSSSSS! Moyano is a better defender though and will look to take on Reece with ball in hand so Sevu needs to be as sharp defensively as he is when an attacking chance arises.

Appearances: Reece 13 (965 mins; 74 per gm) Moyano 13 (835 mins; 64 per gm)

Tries: Reece 15 Moyano 7

Line Breaks: Reece 18 Moyano 11

Metres Gained: Reece 1170 (11.3m/run) Moyano 724 (10.1m/run)

Tackles Made/Missed: Moyano 36/10 (78%) Reece 33/21 (61%)

15 David Havili vs Emiliano Boffelli – CRUSADERS

Havili has had arguably the best Super Rugby season of his career. He looks so comfortable at the back and his involvements on attack generally turn out very positive. We haven’t seen as much of Boffelli with ball in hand this season, which is a shame as he’s a heck of threat when he’s on the run while goal kicking from distance will be a more than useful asset in a contest like this one.

Appearances: Havili 16 (1164 mins; 73 per gm) Boffelli 12 (901 mins; 75 per gm)

Tries: Havili 7 Boffelli 3

Line Breaks Havili 16 Boffelli 7

Metres Gained: Havili 1228 (10.1m/run) Boffelli 786 (9.3m/run)

Kicking Metres: Havili 2051 (128.1m/gm; 32.5m/kick) Boffelli 778 (64.8m/gm; 31.1m/kick)

Tackles Made/Missed: Boffelli 31/6 (84%) Havili 68/20 (77%)

Collectively – EVEN

Just like the loose forwards, when have a couple of very complimentary back three units on display in this one

RESERVES

16. Andrew Makalio vs Julian Montoya – JAGUARES

I can make a very, very good case that Montoya should be starting ahead of Creevy. Makalio hasn’t let the Crusaders down during his time with the franchise but I suspect they might play Taylor a little deeper into this game.

Appearances: Montoya 18 (780 mins; 43 per gm) Makalio 15 (646 mins; 43 per gm)

17. George Bower vs. 18. Enrique Pieretto – EVEN

Much of a muchness; Bower better around the field, Pieretto more sturdy in the tight stuff

Appearances: Bower 9 (256 mins; 28 mins per gm)

18. Michael Alaalatoa vs 17. Mayco Vivas - CRUSADERS

I’m more than a little surprised to see Vivas starting off the bench for this one, but while he has been very good as a starter, I still see Alaalatoa as someone who contributes a little more in all areas

Appearances: Alaalatoa 17 (834 mins; 49 per gm) Vivas 16 (786 mins; 49 per gm)

19. Luke Romano vs. Juan Manuel Leguizamon – EVEN

Two gnarly old veterans right here people. Not going to compare then in playing terms as ones a lock, the other a loosie, but they are so similar in the no-nonsense, get-stuck-in way they play the game yet both are also very cerebral athletes with it

Appearances: Romano 12 (288 mins; 24 per gm) Leguizamon 8 (299 mins; 37 per gm)

20. Jordan Taufua vs Tomas Lezana – CRUSADERS

Yes I know Lezana has been good this season, but the off-the-bench version of Jordan Tuafua is so much fun and his overt vim & vigour is something that invigorates this Crusaders unit when he comes hissing onto the turf

Appearances: Taufua 17 (734 mins; 43 per gm) Lezana 13 (807 mins; 62 per gm)

21. Mitchell Drummond vs Felipe Ezcurra – CRUSADERS

Drummond’s experience and cool head shades the sometimes excitable Ezcurra, who may not get much time behind Cubelli in this one

Appearances: Drummond 14 (460 mins; 33 per gm) Ezcurra 11 (319 mins; 29 per gm)

22. Mitchell Hunt vs Domingo Miotti – JAGUARES

Miotti has proven himself as a game changer off the bench and as someone we should keep our eyes on in the years ahead and while the don’t call Hunt “Clutch” for nothing, Miotti has that little bit more of an attack spark to him.

Appearances: Hunt 9 (235 mins; 26 per gm) Miotti 8 (407 mins; 51 per gm)

23. Will Jordan vs Sebastian Cancelliere – EVEN

Even though we haven’t seen Jordan play since injuring his foot in the first week of May, this young man has proven himself to be a potent attacking weapon whilst being a solid defender as has Cancelliere, who has relished the extra playing time in the latter half of the season.

Appearances: Cancelliere 10 (751 mins; 75 per gm) Jordan 8 (378 mins; 47 per gm)

Collectively – CRUSADERS

Coach Scott Robertson talks about his “closers” and the bench has been very good during his coaching tenure though the Jaguares reserves have good impact value as well

SEASONS STATS

Record: Crusaders Won 13 Drew 2 Lost 2; Jaguares Won 13 Lost 5

Points: Crusaders 565 For 297 Against; Jaguares 521 For 375 Against

Tries: Crusaders 81 For 37 Against; Jaguares 67 For 40 Against

PREVIOUS MEETINGS

Friday 15 April 2016 – Round 8: Crusaders 32-15 @ Christchurch

Saturday 7 April 2018 – Round 8: Crusaders 40-14 @ Buenos Aires

** Coverage of the Super Rugby final begins at 7.05pm on Radio Sport & iHeartRadio with commentary from Brian Ashby, Corey Flynn, Tracey Nelson and Lesley Murdoch at 7.35pm **

** A combination of statistical information from OPTA & Fox Sport Lab has been used in this article **

NIGEL YALDEN IS RUGBY EDITOR FOR RADIO SPORT & NEWSTALK ZB