Super Rugby Semifinal Wrap: The Two Best Teams in the Final

Graham LevertonContributor IJuly 3, 2011

Rod Davies became the first Reds player to ever score a hat-trick of tries.
Rod Davies became the first Reds player to ever score a hat-trick of tries.Jonathan Wood/Getty Images

In the build-up to this past weekend's semi-finals, all the talk was about how close these encounters would be, and how any of the teams could effectively go through.

That couldn't have been further from the truth as the Reds (30-13) and Crusaders (29-10) both put in performances worthy of being Champions.

The Reds somewhat unsurprisingly dismantled the Blues in another masterclass display of counter-attacking rugby, marshaled once again by the flawless Quade Cooper. The Blues tried but simply could not get any cohesion together in their attack.

They did have their chances, but their passing seemed way too static and predictable. They seemed intent on trying to run the ball with no forward momentum, which created pressure for the backs who were receiving the ball from behind the line.

The intercept try by Rod Davies basically summed up the entire match. Another impressive aspect of the Reds' performance was their defense as they suffocated the Blues' attack. They will have to duplicate that next week against a more clinical team like the Crusaders.

The Crusaders went into their semi-final at Newlands as "underdogs", but is there ever really an "underdog" Crusaders team? This team is class, and they proved it after slaughtering the Stormers in their own backyard (for the second time this season).

They raced into a 23-3 lead within 30 minutes, silencing the 50,000-strong crowd and effectively wrapping up the game. They dominated every aspect, from the set-pieces to the breakdown, giving a masterclass to a shocked and clueless Stormers team. The forward pack were gutless in setting up an impressive victory.

I think it is fair to say that the two best teams this season will contest the final, and rightly so. The Reds have been impressive this season, especially at home, and will be incredibly difficult to stop next week as they host their first ever Super Rugby final.

The Crusaders have proven what a classy team they've been this year, having had no home games and travelling more miles in the air then any team in Super Rugby history. They have a unified belief and desire to win, which will make next Saturday's encounter an exciting and memorable one.

But ultimately, who will walk away the inaugural winners of the Super 15? Both these teams are worthy of being Super Rugby Champions, and they proved that this week. We will have to wait and see.