Super Rugby final experts view: Sean Fitzpatrick and Michael Lynagh assess the Crusaders and Jaguares
Watch the Crusaders take on the Jaguares in this year's Super Rugby final live on Sky Sports Action from 8am on Saturday.
By Sky Sports Rugby Union
Last Updated: 05/07/19 3:07pm
Sky Sports experts Sean Fitzpatrick and Michael Lynagh take a look at how the Jaguares and Crusaders stack up ahead of the Super Rugby final.
Jaguares' progress good for Argentinian rugby
One of the criticisms Super Rugby has faced is that it has not done enough to aid the development and growth of the sport.
But while Japanese franchise the Sunwolves have struggled and are due to bow out of the competition after next season, the Buenos Aires-based Jaguares have gone from strength to strength.
Since joining the competition in 2016, the Argentinian franchise have finished 13th, 10th, seventh and second in the overall standings, reaching the final for the first time this year after a maiden play-off appearance in 2018.
Former All Blacks hooker Sean Fitzpatrick is in no doubt the Jaguares serve as an answer to that criticism and believes their final appearance against the Crusaders will have a knock-on effect for the national team going into this year's World Cup.
"It's shown that it does work and they'll be very confident in terms of home-grown players," Fitzpatrick said. "It all bodes well for the World Cup and we know how good Argentina are at World Cups.
"Every four years, they seem to turn up. They've been semi-finalists on several occasions, so this can only be good for them.
"Even travelling to New Zealand, the experience they'll gain from playing in a final is good for Argentinian rugby.
"They've learned how to win on the road and they've learned how to win at home, that's for sure, because it's a tough place to go. It's great for the Jaguares and great for rugby."
Crusaders enjoy comforts of home
Christchurch's Rugby League Park has become a near-on impervious fortress for the Crusaders, who earned home advantage for the final after finishing top of the Super Rugby regular-season standings.
Fellow New Zealanders the Hurricanes came close to ending the defending champions' long, unbeaten run on their own patch in Saturday's semi-final before eventually succumbing 30-26.
The Jaguares will have to be at their very best to overcome the Crusaders on their own patch and while former Australia fly-half Michael Lynagh expects the Argentinians to put up a good fight, he cannot see the hosts losing on their own patch.
"For the Crusaders, this is what they wanted and what they've probably deserved throughout the season," said Lynagh.
"You try to top the ladder and get home advantage, and that's what we've got. They've won 23 at home in the play-offs and, for me, they start as strong favourites.
"But the Jaguares, even though they have to travel, they're used to that and they've got one game to give it a real shot with nothing to lose."
Backs pose danger for Jaguares
Argentina's rugby team have long been regarded for the strength of their forwards and while the Jaguares have maintained that, they have developed the attacking side of the game in their backs.
The 39-7 win over the Brumbies in the semi-finals, which included two tries for centre Matias Orlando, emphasised the dangers of their back-line.
And Lynagh feels it is a part of Gonzalo Quesada's side's game which is somewhat underappreciated.
"Their forward pack is very strong, but what I love over the last few years is the way they've developed their attacks out the back," Lynagh said.
"They'll be passionate and well-ready for it. It's taken a while, but they've got there and we'll see how they go.
"I don't know if we'll see a surprise, but they'll put in a good performance."
The Crusaders, who are going for their third-straight Super League title, will likely stick to the well-honed which has served them well under head coach Scott Robertson.
"The Crusaders really like putting structure into their game, controlling things and working around that," said Lynagh.