What is it about the Crusaders that make them so successful? In 2018 they were crowned Australasia’s best team of the last quarter of a century. Christchurch is a relatively small city with just under 400,000 population. It doesn’t have a huge player pool, certainly no more than the North Island franchises and in some cases less. Facilities wise, it does pretty well. The old Rugby Park had a significant transformation some years ago with the addition of a new administration block, new player’s gym and meeting rooms. But most of the club’s titles were won out of the old Rugby Park, which was argually, the roughest amongst all the clubs. It had enough to work with, obviously, but there was no gloss whatsoever.
So there was something else going on within the environment of the Crusaders. Something that time after time produced champion players and champion teams. This is what set the Crusaders apart. They won and then won again. In fact, there has hardly been a playoff series in Super Rugby that the Crusaders have not been a part of.
This year they are going for a three-peat of titles. And there’s a good chance they will be up for it as well.
What is happening in Christchurch that has brought the club such an incredible run of success over so many years? There are a number of theories about the so called ‘secret formulae’. I’ll delve into a few of these and some of my own over the next few weeks.