Crusaders beat Blues in Super Rugby opener

The nine-time champions scored four tries to three on Saturday at Eden Park, but only clung to victory when Blues reserve five-eighth Harry Plummer missed two late shots at goal.

Making his maiden Super Rugby appearance, Plummer skewed a handy conversion attempt and then a 45m penalty shot, both inside the final seven minutes of a fiercely fought Kiwi derby.

It was a gut-wrenching result for new Blues head coach Leon MacDonald, whose team look highly competitive and capable of breaking a seven-season run of failing to reach the finals.

Crusaders prop Perry to see specialist over broken arm

Perry, 30, broke his arm while attempting a tackle in the Crusaders' 24-22 victory over the Blues in their Super Rugby opener at Eden Park on Saturday.

He had been on the field for just seven minutes before starter and fellow All Blacks prop Joe Moody was forced to return to replace him.

"He will go see a specialist on Monday to have a look at the options," Robertson said of Perry's arm. "If it's an operation, and how long that would take to recover, if it is.

Crusaders lose assistant in Welsh coach swap

Mooar has been at the Super Rugby champions for three years and helped the Crusaders to a second straight Super Rugby title in 2018 alongside head coach Scott Robertson.

He was previously head coach of the Southland Stags as well as backs coach with South African sides Eastern Province Kings and Southern Kings in the Super 15.

The 44-year-old Mooar will join Scarlets in 2019, with Pivac taking over from Gatland as Wales coach at the end of next year's World Cup in Japan.

Champions Crusaders not about to slow down

The most dominant team in the competition's history made it nine titles in 22 years with a typically ruthless 37-18 defeat of the Lions in the final in Christchurch on Saturday.

Defending their title with virtually the same team who tasted glory against the Lions in Johannesburg a year earlier, the Crusaders are set to trot out close to an identical group in 2019.

Bursting with All Blacks forwards and some of the premier young backline talent in New Zealand, it seems even now it will take something special to prevent Scott Robertson's men from claiming a hat-trick.

Super Rugby final: 'I'm really confident we will have a full house'

The Crusaders will face off against the South African Lions tomorrow night, but the competition has already faced its fair share of controversy over seat sales - and (as of last night) tickets are still available for the final.

But Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach said he expected this final to be a sell-out, with, as of last night, only a few hundred seats left.

"They are looking really good - we will sell this game out.

"They are still steadily going out the door, so I'm really confident we will have a full house on Saturday night."

Mo'unga directs masterful Crusaders win

The eight-time champions look poised to make it nine following an authoritative semi-final display in Christchurch on Saturday.

The scoreline didn't reflect the dominance of the hosts at AMI Stadium, where they will host South Africa's Lions.

It was a 14th-straight win for the defending champion Crusaders, who have looked increasingly unbeatable during the second half of the season.

Playing with speed, power and accuracy, they scored four tries to two.

Taufua out of Super Rugby final

Taufua, nicknamed 'Beast', sustained the injury during the defending champions' 30-12 semi-final victory over the Hurricanes on Saturday.

Pete Samu is set to come into the side when Scott Robertson's men come up against the Lions at AMI Stadium next Saturday in a repeat of last year's decider.

Taufua posted on Instagram: "Unfortunately for me that's my season on the field done... pretty gutted to not be able to run out with my brothers for the final but will be a loud and proud supporter off it!! One more to go."

Crusaders ready to roll over Hurricanes

If they can get past the only other New Zealand team still in contention, just one more win will separate the defending champions from a staggering ninth championship.

The omens are good - the Crusaders have won 11 of their 16 semifinals appearances, never lost a finals encounter in Christchurch, and beaten the Hurricanes all four times the two teams have met in the play-offs.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd says that's an impressive record, and admits the home advantage will provide a real boost for the Crusaders.

Crusaders into Super Rugby semis with clinical win

Despite failing to play their best rugby in Christchurch on Saturday, the defending champion Crusaders were always in control in their quarter-final.

By snaring a 13th successive win they took a step closer to their ninth title.

However, a stiffer challenge awaits in Christchurch next week against a Hurricanes side who showed signs of returning to their best in Friday's quarter- final defeat of the Chiefs.

The Crusaders will want to be better, spending chunks of the match inside their half, not helped by a faltering lineout display.

Crusaders back to near full strength

International class will ooze from the starting XV, the reserve bench and even the grandstand in Christchurch on Saturday for what shapes as the most lop-sided of the quarter-finals.

The Durban-based Sharks, who snuck into eighth place on points differential ahead of the Melbourne Rebels, face a series of immense obstacles.

First is travel, so often a crippling impediment in the finals.

Then there's a miserable 1-11 win-loss record in Christchurch and the form of the defending champions, who have won 12 straight games.