Super Rugby Pacific final: Crusaders v Chiefs. Where: FMG Stadium Waikato, Hamilton. When: 7.src5pm, Saturday. Coverage: Live on Sky Sport, live updates on Stuff from 6.45pm.
The time for talking is almost over, as the much anticipated Super Rugby finale draws closer.
Just as well, because the humdinger between the Chiefs and Crusaders in Hamilton on Saturday night can’t come soon enough.
There’s no doubt the two best teams in the competition have made it to the big dance, and that the pace-setting Chiefs are deserved hosts.
Here are the big questions ahead of the match, which will decide if the Crusaders make it seven titles in as many years, or if the Chiefs bag their first crown in a decade.
Will Sam Whitelock actually play?
Yes, the veteran Crusaders lock has been named to start alongside captain Scott Barrett, but there remains a tinge of doubt regarding his status due to his troublesome Achilles.
Don’t panic, Crusaders fans, all signs are pointing to him playing, but both head coach Scott Robertson and assistant coach Scott Hansen stressed a final decision wouldn’t be made until he participates in the warm-up.
Speaking before Whitelock participated in the team’s captain’s run in Christchurch on Friday morning, Hansen refused to put a number on the likelihood he’d play, and stressed the Crusaders were not putting any heat on him.
“It’s not something I’ll put a number on, because the conversation that you know is Sammy looks real good, and he’s training real well. But Sammy will make a decision in the pre-game warm-up around what’s best for him and what’s best for us in the final.
“But what we’ve seen from Sammy is very positive, and the feedback we’ve been given.”
Given the Crusaders have scratched players ahead of games more often than not this season, it’s fair to say all eyes will be on Whitelock when the Crusaders emerge from their changing room at FMG Stadium to get loose.
Where would this rate amongst Crusaders titles under coach Scott Robertson if they get the job done?
It would be near the top of the pile, given they’ve been ravaged by a double-digit injury ward for the majority of the
…. to be continued
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