Red and black-swathed fans have poured into the city to cheer on the BNZ Crusaders after their three-peat Investec Super Rugby victory.
Christchurch City Councillor Tim Scandrett today welcomed hundreds of people to the red and black party at the Christchurch Art Gallery following the Crusaders’ stunning 19-3 win over Argentina's Jaguares at Orangetheory Stadium on Saturday night.
“On behalf of the city, it is my privilege to welcome you guys and say ‘thank you’ for all you’ve done,” Cr Scandrett said.
“Thank you guys for coming this morning and giving it back to us, your fans.”
Led by Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock, the triumphant players also acknowledged their fans for their strong support throughout the season as they celebrated their third Super Rugby title in a row under star coach Scott Robertson – and their 10th crown overall.
Robertson told the crowd it was a “very special occasion for all of us for a lot of reasons”.
“There’s a lot of guys leaving – players and staff – but we wanted to make the final special and actually earn the win, and we did that,” he said.
“The Jaguares, they turned up and it was a championship final and we did earn it.
“I’d just like to say ‘thank you’ to everyone that came along on Saturday night and braved the tropical temperatures and they were right behind us in every tackle we made.”
Top-scoring first five-eighth Richie Mo'unga also joined the party after kicking 14 points to power the Crusaders to a big win.
Team members were kept busy signing autographs and posing with fans for souvenir photos of the remarkable triple title.
Loose forward Jordan Taufua wound up the red and black party with an impromptu chant, accompanied by hundreds of Crusaders fans.
The Investec Super Rugby Trophy is on display at the Christchurch Art Gallery until 2.30pm today.