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Australian sides look to end title drought in ‘evenly matched’ Super Rugby 2024

By Finn Morton
Brumbies players celebrate winning the Super Rugby Pacific Quarter Final match between Brumbies and Hurricanes at GIO Stadium, on June 10, 2023, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Mark Nolan/Getty Images)

An Australian Super Rugby side hasn’t taken out a title against their Kiwi foe in almost a decade, but there may be a reason to be optimistic in 2024 as these teams prepare to start a new World Cup cycle with “settled” sides.

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The Crusaders’ unrivalled era of dominance seems like it’s been going on forever. The Christchurch-based franchise has been relentless as they’ve claimed seven titles in as many years – and other New Zealand sides haven’t been too far behind.

But the Crusaders are preparing to charge into Super Rugby Pacific battle without former coach Scott Robertson, as well as departing greats Richie Mo’unga and Sam Whitelock.

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The Hurricanes will also be without Ardie Savea and Dane Coles, while the Chiefs will look to fill the void left by 2023 co-captains Sam Cane and Brad Weber.

In comparison, the Aussie sides are a lot better off. That’s not to say there haven’t been some changes, because there surely have, but these squads have a sense of familiarity about them and that makes the Australians dangerous.

Some may laugh at or disregard the notion that the Australian teams – especially the ACT Brumbies – can contend for a title next season, but Hurricanes coach Clark Laidlaw truly believes that the competition is “quite evenly matched” across the board.

“It’s tough to tell. I think when you look at the Australian teams they look quite settled and then there’s an obvious around some the New Zealand teams losing experience,” Laidlaw said on The Platform.

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“I feel like they’re quite evenly matched the teams… it feels like it’s quite an even competition.

“You’ve got Moana (Pasifika) who have new coaches and I think they’ve added to their squad and obviously the Fijian Drua. We found out when you go over there it’s a difficult place to go and play.

“On paper, it looks like a really even competition. It’ll be interesting to see If that’s how it pans out and plays out over the course of the season.”

But New Zealand sides the Chiefs, Crusaders, Blues and Hurricanes are probably more fancied to take out the 2024 Super Rugby Pacific title.

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The Crusaders, in particular, are dangerous. Looking to carry their dominance into a third World Cup cycle, the ‘Saders have shown time and time again that they are the best Super Rugby nursery in the nation.

Even when legends depart, younger players have stepped up to forge legendary legacies of their own. Fans would be brave to write them off as they hunt their eighth title since 2017.

“I think ultimately they’re the only team that knows how to win it over the last seven years,” Laidlaw said.

“I think I’ve tried to work out how many rugby players in the country (not) with the Crusaders know what it takes to win Super Rugby, and maybe Brad Shields and TJ Perenara – I was trying to think if there’s any other players or any other team that have actually won Super Rugby.

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“We’ve all got the same goal, we all think at this stage of the season that we’re good enough to get to the playoffs and win but ultimately the Crusaders are a team that knows how to.

“A lot of our attention is obvious; is to prepare well and connect well and train bloody hard, but ultimately can we build a game that can deliver in the back end of the season is the challenge for all of us.

“I’m sure their experience and the knowledge that the playing group will got will still make them one of the teams to beat.”

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Comments

3 Comments
P
Pecos 214 days ago

Yeah nah. “on paper” is probably an unreliable measure. But I do like the potential that the post RWC SR versions have always delivered. And for the Aussie teams, if not now, then when? Step it up boy-oy-oys

S
Sumkunn Tsadmiova 214 days ago

“….that makes the Australians dangerous…..” Nice one! April Fools’ Day article in mid-November!

L
Liam 214 days ago

Please. Next article will be telling us the aussie teams are all favorites. Bit early to claim the tide has turned

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