2022 Brumbies Rugby vs Blues

Super Rugby Semifinals Preview: Trips To Final On The Line

Super Rugby Semifinals Preview: Trips To Final On The Line

Four teams remain in contention to be this year's Super Rugby champion, and the semifinals will provide the excitement fans have missed in recent years.

Jun 6, 2022 by Briar Napier
Super Rugby Semifinals Preview: Trips To Final On The Line

The teams left standing in the Super Rugby season are so close to silverware they can almost taste it.

The four squads left for this season's Super Rugby semifinal round have survived a grueling 15-week regular season, the qualifiers round of the playoffs and all the various trials and tribulations that come along with everything.

It has been three years since a proper playoffs in Super Rugby, but now that it's back, it's oh so sweet.

What's there to look out for as Super Rugby's finalists are decided this weekend? 

Take a peek below at previews of both semifinal matches, plus an overview over each squad remaining, ahead of the showdowns on FloRugby.

NOTE: Start times are listed in Eastern Time and are subject to change.

Crusaders vs. Chiefs, 

Friday, June 10 at 3:05 a.m. ET

The Super Rugby landscape changed drastically once the COVID-19 pandemic shook the world, regionalizing the competition and forcing it to go through two seasons of having no official Trans-Tasman champion. 

The undisputed kings of Super Rugby before the switch were the Crusaders, who won three straight titles from 2017-19. Their goal now is to make a statement - Super Rugby may have changed, but who sits on top of it didn't. 

The Crusaders may not have the stunning win streak the table-topping Blues do, but coach Scott Robertson's men have been remarkably consistent nonetheless, their three losses coming by a combined 10 points. 

Crucially, one of those defeats came at the hands of the Chiefs in Round 4 - at the Orangetheory Stadium, no less - in a huge upset, and though the Crusaders got the Chiefs back with a 34-19 win two weeks later in Hamilton, it would be foolish to believe that the Chiefs are massive semifinal underdogs in Christchurch. 

Coach Clayton McMillan's Chiefs have scored at least 30 points in four consecutive matches, all wins, and though a shaky defensive record (24.9 points per game allowed in regular season) has raised some eyebrows, the Chiefs' 39-15 dismantling of the New South Wales Waratahs this past weekend was as complete of a performance from any team in the qualifiers round. 

However, no Super Rugby side allowed fewer points entering the postseason than the Crusaders (268), leaving Friday's third meeting of 2022 between the teams to be the most important clash of strengths yet. 

Will lightning strike twice for the Chiefs, especially as they must try to contain again the two leading try scorers (Will Jordan and Leicester Fainga'anuku) in all of Super Rugby, or will the Crusaders prove that, until further notice, Super Rugby is theirs to lose?

Blues vs. Brumbies, 

Saturday, June 11 at 3:05 a.m. ET

Just how high are the stakes in Auckland this weekend? For starters, neither team has even made a Super Rugby final since the Brumbies did so in 2013, let alone win the whole thing like the Aussies did last between the two in 2004. 

The Blues and the Brumbies ruled the Super Rugby table throughout much of the regular season - the Brumbies for much of the first half, Blues for much of the second - and played arguably the game of the season in Round 14, when Blues and All Blacks superstar Beauden Barrett kicked in a field goal after the fulltime siren to clinch a thrilling 21-19 win. 

The rematch, however, will send the loser home packing, and for two fanbases desperate to see a Super Rugby title come home again, the tension is ever-apparent. 

Coach Leon MacDonald's Blues are on the best run of form in team history, having won a club-record 14 straight matches, with the most tries (69) of any squad in the competition this season. 

And, after a decade of mediocrity since their last semifinal appearance in 2011, during which they finished no better than ninth in Super Rugby from 2012-19, the Blues have the feel of a team of destiny with the performances and star power to back it up. 

The Brumbies, meanwhile, are carrying the flag of Australia with them to battle as the country's only side remaining in the playoffs, seeking to get the nation its first Super Rugby title since New South Wales Waratahs accomplished the feat in 2014. Still, they have to beat the Blues inside Eden Park to do it, of which no team has done so before in 2022. 

It'll be hard to replicate the regular-season classic between the two, but with so much at stake for two weary bunches of supporters, the fires inside each squad should burn bright, and it's likely to show on the pitch.

Tale Of The Tape

Crusaders: 10-time champions (Last title: 2019). Leading point scorer: Richie Mo'unga (103). Leading try scorers: Will Jordan and Leicester Fainga'anuku (10). Captain: Scott Barrett.

Blues: Three-time champions (Last title: 2003). Leading point scorer: Stephen Perofeta (117). Leading try scorer: Caleb Clarke (7). Captain: Dalton Papalii.  

Chiefs: Two-time champions (Last title: 2013). Leading point scorer: Bryn Gatland (120). Leading try scorer: Alex Nankivell (7). Captain: Brad Weber.

Brumbies: Two-time champions (Last title: 2004). Leading point scorer: Noah Lolesio (114). Leading try scorer: Tom Wright (9). Captain: Allan Alaalatoa.