Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder can achieve what no other man has done if his side beat the Waratahs in Sydney on Saturday.
Crusaders boss Todd Blackadder can achieve what no other man has done if his side beat the Waratahs in Saturday's final in Sydney.
If the Crusaders secure victory, Blackadder is set to become the first man to win the Super Rugby title as a player and coach.
The Christchurch-based franchise are the tournament's most successful franchise with seven victories, but last won the title in 2008.
As a lock, Blackadder captained the side to their first three titles from 1998 to 2000 but he is yet to secure a victory as a coach, despite being at the helm since 2009.
His best season came in 2011, when his side finished as runners-up to the Reds but he feels his current crop of players can improve on that performance by beating the Waratahs in Saturday's final in Sydney.
“They've shown all the fighting characteristics,” he told Reuters.
“We've been through a lot as a team this year.
“We haven't had a dream run at all. We've had to work hard for everything that we've got and we've been written off.
“But the guys have stuck to it, they've worked hard for each other.
“If I look at all the characteristics that you want in a really good Crusaders team, I see it in this team, I definitely do.”
The Crusaders struggled during the tournament's early stages, and have been without the experienced All Blacks trio of number eight Kieran Read, flanker Richie McCaw and fly-half Dan Carter for large parts of their campaign.
The trio have returned in time to make significant contributions during the tournament's knockout stages and were all part of the last Crusaders team that won the title in 2008 – a 20-12 win over the Waratahs in Christchurch.
“We've been in this position before with some of these players but I think this year we've also got a lot of good young guys who are hungry and have been doing the yards this year,” added Blackadder.
“So I think experience counts on these big occasions but the want and desire's got to be there from everyone.”