Sunday, 3 July 2011
Doing Christchurch proud - Crusaders V Stormers
Spirit. The Canterbury Crusaders were always wonderful footballers, but today as the rain beat down in South Africa, and they played yet another 'away' match to get themselves into the Super Rugby final of 2011, they showed their heart and their spirit.
A year where the city of Christchurch has been decimated. Where the people of the city are leaving in droves, fearful for their lives, aware that they live on land that is on a heaving, breathing timebomb. The Crusaders rugby team, one of the greatest rugby teams admittedly of all time, showed why they have always been champions.
Today they played for their families, their friends and the people of their city. They have not played a home game, travelling all season to far flung places to fight and to give people a glimmer of enjoyment from lives that have been riddled with fear and grief, and more fear. I didn't think that they would win against the Stormers in South Africa. I thought this was going to be one journey too far, one final too much.
I was so wrong and I am so pleased to be proved so. Tonight the Canterbury Crusaders played their hearts out. Brave in attack. Lion hearted in defence. Their forwards, magnificent. Burly south africans - put on the rack, by a sturdy, ferocious Cantabrian scrum. In attack, the backs ran through gaps and defended with every last inch of their being.There were no stars tonight. This was a team of men, playing for each other and their people back home.
I'm very proud to be a New Zealander today. I don't care if the Crusaders win or lose the final next week against the Queensland Reds (who are a fantastic side incidentally). They have come this far. They have been heroic, hopeful, stoic, good. All the qualities that the greatest of New Zealanders are known for.
It may be an Everest we have to climb next week, but if the Crusaders beat the Reds in Brisbane, after all the many Super Rugby titles this champion side have won in the past; this will be the sweetest and most glorious of victories.
Please read the article below I have linked to. It typifies what I want to say but what I don't have the eloquence to write in this moment: Crusaders shine a beacon of hope for Christchurch's suffering citizens (UK Independent online newspaper)