Weekend teams and prediction

So after 123 games in 19 rounds of rugby in the 19th year of Super Rugby that started on the 15th of February, it comes to this. Catch the match details, odds, SuperBru community and Tank’s pick for the final.

Tank Lanning

Both sides unchanged from the ones that did duty in the semi-finals. Both sides play a complete game of rugby with solid scrums and lineouts, open side flankers that change games, half backs that can control the game, and potent strikers in the form of Folau and Nadolo.

How the Tahs can leave Will Skelton out again is beyond me. The human wrecking ball always pulls in 2 defenders and has the skills to get the ball away in the tackle. He is a coach’s dream!

The Crusaders have drunk from the trophy 7 times, while the Waratahs are yet to clap eyes on it.

Given the strange format, these two sides did not meet during the regular season but did go head to head in the 2008 final, won by the Crusaders.

In fact, it has been 10 years since the Waratahs last beat the Crusaders. And how much of a factor will the decision to shift the final from Allianz Stadium, where they Waratahs are unbeaten this year, to the bigger ANZ Stadium be? Crusaders coach Todd Blackadder has already pounced, saying that he would never have given up home ground advantage …

It’s the tournaments “Nearly men” vs the most successful Super Rugby side of all time. As deserved log leaders this year given that the Tahs top all of the Metres Run, Clean Breaks, Passes, Offloads, Defenders beaten, Carries, Tries, Points, Conversions and Try Assist stats, yet have also missed the least tackles of any side, will the bridesmaid eventually get a turn to be the bride?

It should be an absolute cracker!

Saturday 2 August:

11h40 – Waratahs v Crusaders, ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Referee: Craig Joubert

AR’s: Steve Walsh, James Leckie

TMO: George Ayoub

Tank’s prediction: CRUSADERS to beat Waratahs by 9

SuperBru community: WARATAHS to draw with CRUSADERS (56% say Waratahs by 7, 44% say Crusaders by 9)

OddsChecker: WARATAHS (4/5) to beat Crusaders (13/10)

Waratahs: 15 Israel Folau, 14 Alofa Alofa, 13 Adam Ashley-Cooper, 12 Kurtley Beale, 11 Rob Horne, 10 Bernard Foley, 9 Nick Phipps, 8 Wycliff Palu, 7 Michael Hooper (captain), 6 Stephen Hoiles, 5 Kane Douglas, 4 Jacques Potgieter, 3 Sekope Kepu, 2 Tatafu Polota-Nau, 1 Benn Robinson

Bench (from): 16 Tolu Latu, 17 Paddy Ryan, 18 Jeremy Tilse, 19 Will Skelton, 20 Mitchell Chapman, 21 Pat McCutcheon, 22 Brendan McKibbin, 23 Taqele Naiyaravoro, 24 Peter Betham

Crusaders: 15 Israel Dagg, 14 Kieron Fonotia, 13 Ryan Crotty, 12 Dan Carter, 11 Nemani Nadolo, 10 Colin Slade, 9 Andy Ellis, 8 Kieran Read (captain), 7 Matt Todd, 6 Richie McCaw, 5 Sam Whitelock, 4 Dominic Bird, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Corey Flynn, 1 Wyatt Crockett

Bench: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Joe Moody, 18 Nepo Laulala, 19 Jimmy Tupou, 20 Jordan Taufua, 21 Willi Heinz, 22 Tom Taylor, 23 Johnny McNicholl