Super Rugby rivals the Hurricanes and the Crusaders clash in Christchurch tomorrow night in a vital derby game. The most famous match between the two sides is arguably the 2006 Super 14 final when fog rolled into Jade Stadium and played havoc for fans and TV cameras.

Here's Gregor Paul's match report from his disadvantage point in the media box.

It helped create atmosphere in Arthur Conan Doyle's classic novels, but fog was cast as the villain last night after inviting itself to rugby's big party and then spoiling it in quite spectacular style.

Apparently the Crusaders won and in a decade or so when brains get blighted by an altogether different sort of fog, no one will really remember that the game was effectively played in the dark.


The record books will simply show that this was a night the Crusaders enhanced their legacy by collecting their sixth Super rugby title.

But the record needs to be set straight to deter the revisionist historians from erasing the detail of the first Super 14 final. The fog turned this game into a farce built on comic misunderstandings.

Top-class players were made to look like extras in a Benny Hill sketch as they chased hopelessly after the endless kicks that were booted into the blanket of grey that gripped the city.

Poor old Rico Gear was the first to look a plonker as he stood where he hoped the ball would emerge from the fog, only to be a yard short and see the blessed thing slip through his arms.

Maybe he should have learned from Isaia Toeava, who only a few minutes earlier had been staring upfield oblivious to the fact the ball had in fact landed only a few feet away from him and trickled into touch.

It was such easy havoc to wreak that of course both sides opted to use the boot. It happened so often the crowd must have felt, for those brief windows when the fog slightly lifted, that they were in fact watching two English teams.

As the sport's great marketers, the Crusaders should have been doling out Bovril, stodgy pies and pumping out braying chants in lah-de-dah plummy voices just to authenticate the experience.

But what else were the players supposed to do? The fog was so thick that if it hadn't been for referee Jonathan Kaplan's shrill whistle, no one would have appreciated that the second half had started.

The few times that someone tried to run, they were invariably halted by unwitting defenders who seemed to be doing nothing more than peering into the gloom and minding their own business.

More often than not, progress of those brave enough to have a dash was halted by one of their own team. For periods it looked like an unusual twist on the parlour game murder in the dark.

For what it's worth, the decisive score came after 62 minutes when Casey Laulala was brought back against the grain from a scrum five.

By the time the Hurricanes defence had sussed that there was a red jersey making its way towards their line at considerable pace, it was too late. The former All Black had apparently scored.

It was hardly a try to last the ages but it should be remembered for at least ensuring that the team that has been the standard bearer since February picked up a trophy their efforts in the previous 14 games had deserved.

The Crusaders would have preferred for this to have been an even fight. To have won a final that was as epic as the round-robin clash between these two.

They would also have preferred if a few more people who had paid good money to be at Jade last night had actually been able to see the action.

Supposedly, those unfortunate enough to be sitting high in the newly-built Paul Kelly Stand, took off for the pub not long after kick-off.

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach explained that serious thought had been given to delaying the game. But it was agreed by both teams, the match officials, Sanzar and Newscorp that the show had to go on.

It was the only decision they could make. As ridiculous as it was watching so much talent reduced to the lottery of the up and under, postponing would have been even more daft.

The stadium was full of yellow shirts that would not find sympathetic ears at Air New Zealand should they have been required to delay their return to the capital.

The forecast did not suggest the situation would be much better today, anyway.

Not that the Cantabs will care. They will spend today trying to shake off a different fog that their late-night partying will have induced.