Reds, Blues and the cultural spectrum in between

The Reds roar in delight in celebrating James O'Connor’s title-clinching try against the Brumbies at Suncorp Stadium. BRADLEY KANARIS/GETTY IMAGES

 Now the Super Rugby Aotearoa final has been won, almost inevitably, by the Canterbury​ Crusaders, New Zealand can sit back and reflect on a unique season of pandemic-affected … just kidding.

The Super Rugby Trans-Tasman competition – a planned but somewhat rushed sequel – kicks off on Friday night with the Otago​ Highlanders playing the Queensland Reds​ in Dunedin, and the Wellington​ Hurricanes playing the New South Wales Waratahs​ in Sydney.

I realise a lot of readers do not require the locations of the teams, but many Kiwis do. For some, the idea of the Hurricanes taking on the Warratahs​ is just a Friday night bar fight between rugby players and a country rock band from the 90s, probably over the Interislander. It would be must-watch television (I’d put even money on Barry Saunders​ v Dane Coles), but factually incorrect.

The Crusaders – undeniably New Zealand’s most accomplished and worst-named team – will be hosting the ACT Brumbies in Christchurch while, as punishment for losing the Aotearoa final, the Waikato​ Chiefs are being sent to Perth to take on the Western Force. Perth’s fans, Australia’s most loyal, have endured the humiliation of their team being kicked out of Super Rugby for simply being terrible (hear that, Auckland?) but used the opportunity of the apocalypse to sneak back in and finish a very respectable third.

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