WELLINGTON – Of the five previous Super Rugby finals the Canterbury Crusaders have hosted in Christchurch, none will be more poignant than Saturday's title showdown with the Jaguares.
The match at Rugby League Park comes just 16 weeks after Christchurch became the site of New Zealand's worst massacre when 51 people were killed in a mass shooting at two mosques on March 15.
For a population still rebuilding after a 2011 earthquake devastated the city and killed about 190 people, the shootings were a harsh body blow and Crusaders coach Scott Robertson recognised the turmoil the community has faced in recent months.
“We've had a lot of adversity as a team and as a city,” Robertson told Radio New Zealand ahead of the team's bid for a 10th Super Rugby title. “One thing we've done and what I'm really proud of as a group is that every time we've played we've showed how much we care about it and care about each other and care about our community.
“We've always gone back to our true values and what we stand for and how much respect we have in our community and how much work we do for them.”