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Rugby News

Future Tigers to face-off in Final

Either Jordan Taufua or Tomás Lavanini will arrive in Leicester ahead of the new season a Super Rugby champion, with the incoming duo to go head to head this weekend in the 2019 decider in Christchurch.

The Crusaders are chasing a third successive title, after back to back wins over the Lions in 2017 and 2018, which is a feat to have been achieved only once before in Super Rugby history

By who?

The Crusaders from 1998-2000.

Victory this Saturday (8.00am UK time) for the New Zealand side would also see them become the first side to achieve ten Super Rugby competition wins.

Their opponents on Saturday, the Jaguares, are considered the underdogs in a David and Goliath battle as they chase their own piece of history.

The Argentina based outfit have never reached a final series, let alone a decider, since joining the southern hemisphere competition in 2016 and face the unenviable task of the tournament's most successful side in a bid to lift aloft the trophy for the first time.

However, throughout the 2019 campaign, the Jaguares have proved the doubters wrong at almost every turn and showed just what they are capable of in last weekend's 32-point, semi-final romp of the Brumbies in Buenos Aires.

The Crusaders come in to the final having faced a tougher semi-final fixture, when they were pushed all the way by fellow Kiwi side the Hurricanes before holding on to record a 30-26 win at home and book a place in the decider.

Taufua, who made his 100th appearance for the Canterbury side in the semi-final, has been named on the bench for the decider.

Meanwhile, his future Tigers team-mate Lavanini will start at lock alongside Guido Petti in what pundits have described as the most in-form second row pairing in Super Rugby on Saturday morning. The Argentina international is in career best form and shown not only his trademark toughness in both attack and defence throughout the 2019 season, but also an improved running game and been a leader at the line-out for the South American outfit.

With the passion of the Jaguares unquestionable and the class of the Crusaders never in doubt, it is a meeting of two forces that are sure to entertain from kick-off through until the full-time whistle.

Both sides are well known for their ability to score points, especially in the second-half of fixtures, with the defending champions recording a competition-high 183 points directly following the break so far this season.

They are also their most vulnerable late in games, having let in 98 points in the last quarter, which players in to the hands of their visitors this weekend who lead the competition in points at the death, having tallied up 163 in minutes 61-80, largely due to their bench, who have scored a Super Rugby-high 14 tries.

Their most vulnerable period is just before halftime, with 137 points conceded between the 21st minute and the break.

However, what will those stats mean when the emotion of the Jaguares comes face to face with the experience of the Crusaders?

Only time will tell.

One guarantee is that Tigers fans can enjoy the final as a neutral in preparation for the arrival of two Super Rugby stars for the upcoming season.