Super Rugby Pacific final revives rivalry

The next chapter in one of Super Rugby's most storied rivalries will be written in Saturday night's 2022 title decider.

The sold-out sign was already up as the high-flying Blues got set to welcome long-time foes the Crusaders north to Eden Park.

It came 24 years on from the dramatic 1998 final, where a late try earned the Crusaders their maiden title.

A red and black man through and through until moving north three years ago, Blues coach Leon MacDonald expected the 2022 final to play out in similar fashion.

"It's going to be a lot like that.

"There's going to be drama on the weekend, no doubt about it. It's two very good teams and there's going to be something that splits them.

"Whether it's a play like that or a moment, our job is to make sure when that moment happens that we're the ones that grab it."

MacDonald won multiple titles as a player with the great Crusaders teams of the late 90s and 2000s.

Alongside him in those sides was current Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, who also had MacDonald as an assistant coach during their 2017 championship run.

Robertson said he was looking forward to locking horns with his former team-mate.

"He's a good personal friend, Leon.

" understand the way his mind thinks. Smart man and a great rugby tactician."

It was just one of the reasons Robertson wasn't underestimating the team standing in the way of the Crusaders 11th Super Rugby title.

"The Blues have been exceptional all year. They're on a hell of a run.

"The last time they lost at Eden Park ... it's been a while. They've made the garden pretty special.

"For us it's a hell of a week to go up there and a hell of a rivalry. Just what Super Rugby needs."

Also not a bad opportunity for the All Blacks selectors, with several good matchups on show ahead of a big test series against Ireland.

Perhaps the best of them came at first five-eighth.