For those outside of Christchurch, it may have passed them by this week that the long-delayed farce that is the new stadium has been pushed back further to the end of 2025. Primarily to be a rugby stadium and the home of the Crusaders, there's been delays caused by inept decision-makers, red tape and seemingly now supply chain issues.
Eleven years since the old stadium was rendered unusable, we only have artistic renders of what a new stadium might look. That is disgraceful.
Multiple governments and era of councils should hang their heads in shame that it has taken this long to even turn the sod. Yet you know who will be there for the ribbon cutting and parked up in the corporates with a scarf for the first game when it is finally played there.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson has often pleaded his case for a new stadium and anyone who has been to the current stadium would be mad to say any sporting organisation should call that home.
It was 20 years ago this week that the Crusaders concluded the only season in Super Rugby history where a team has won every game. Remarkable too that Aaron Mauger, Leon MacDonald and Scott Robertson were all part of that campaign and are now heading Super Rugby franchises.
Brad Thorn would have been the fourth, if not for taking a sabbatical from the game in 2002 to travel after turning down an All Blacks jumper a few months earlier. Mark Robinson was on that team and now runs the game in New Zealand as NZR chief executive. The thread from that Crusaders side coached by Robbie Deans has a remarkable legacy in the professional age.
The memory remarkably that sticks with me from that season is being at Jade Stadium and the standing ovation at halftime in the final round as the Waratahs were behind 63-0 at the break. I still don't think I've seen 40 minutes of rugby played as well.
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I never thought I'd be thanking the rugby gods for the Western Force.
With their win over Moana Pasifika, at least they've given the final round of Super Rugby Pacific a bit of intrigue given they are able to potentially clinch a playoff spot, should they win tomorrow night in Perth against the Hurricanes and the Highlanders sink against the Rebels on Sunday.
In an eight-team playoff series, to have it all virtually locked up with a round to go speaks to the silliness of giving two-thirds of the teams a playoff berth.
More players need to be like Michael Hooper. The Wallabies skipper gets the award for not sugar-coating his feelings post-match after the horrendous tackle by Sam Gilbert. Hooper is refreshingly honest and candid anyway, but his assertion that the Highlanders first-five should "miss some weeks" for the tackle that could have left him seriously injured was warranted.
How do we make sure there are more scrum resets in the game? It felt we'd been missing out this season but the Blues v Brumbies game more than made up for it and showed us what we'd been missing out on. A blight on the game.