Rugby: Crusaders voted Australasia's most successful sports team

  • 22/11/2018
Sam Whitelock with the Super Rugby trophy.
Sam Whitelock with the Super Rugby trophy. Photo credit: Photosport

The Crusaders have been voted the most successful Australasian sporting franchise of the past 25 years.

The inaugural award analysed 122 teams across 14 competitions since 1993 and decided the nine-time Super Rugby champions were top of the pile.

The Crusaders first triumphed in 1998, with their most recent success coming this year. They were the only New Zealand sporting side to make the top-25 list.

They beat out rugby league's Brisbane Broncos and AFL's Geelong Cats, who finished second and third, while the New South Wales Breakers cricket team were the highest-ranked women's team in fifth.  

Platinum Asset Management conducted the research, in conjunction with GAIN LINE Analytic, who analysed 74,426 matches between all the 122 teams across the 14 eligible national or Australasian leagues over 25 years to reach a conclusion.

Former Wallabies prop Ben Darwin, who helped compile the list, said the Crusaders were worthy winners.

Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett.
Brisbane Broncos coach Wayne Bennett. Photo credit: AAP

"In 2011, they did something we've never seen before - they basically played the entire season away from their home ground, because of the earthquake, and they still made the final," he told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"To pull that off is pretty extraordinary, particularly with all the extra things that come with earthquakes, like family stress and constantly changing environments.

"They've also punched above their weight geographically, representing an area smaller than Newcastle or Geelong, but they have consistently recruited internally from the local area and produced extraordinary results."

The Crusaders will be presented with an NZ$26,578 cheque to donate to a worthy cause of their choice next week.

No A-League football teams made the top 25, as only the Perth Glory franchise existed longer than the competition, which was founded in 2004.

The study also had to reconcile the salary cap and cheating scandals that have rocked some codes over the years, disregarding the championships that leagues removed, such as for the Storm, who were stripped of two titles and three minor premierships.

Australasia's Best Sporting Team - Top 25

  • 1. Crusaders (Super Rugby)
  • 2. Brisbane Broncos (NRL)
  • 3. Geelong Cats (AFL)
  • 4. Fremantle Mariners (National Water Polo League)
  • 5. NSW Breakers (Women's National Cricket League)
  • 6. Queensland Bulls (Sheffield Shield)
  • 7.  Sydney University Lions (National Women's Water Polo League)
  • 8. Melbourne Storm (NRL)
  • 9. Perth Wildcats (NBL)
  • 10. Sydney Roosters (NRL)
  • 11. Sydney Swans (AFL)
  • 12. Sydney University Flames (WNBL)
  • 13. Adelaide Lightning/City (WNBL)
  • 14. Brumbies (Super Rugby)
  • 15. Fremantle Marlins (National Women's Water Polo League)
  • 16. Melbourne United/Tigers (NBL)
  • 17. West Coast Eagles (AFL)
  • 18. Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs (NRL)
  • 19. Newcastle North Stars (Australian Ice Hockey League)
  • 20. Brisbane Barracudas (National Women's Water Polo League)
  • 21. Victoria (Sheffield Shield)
  • 22. NSW/Sydney Swifts (Netball)
  • 23. Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles (NRL)
  • 24. Hawthorn Hawks (AFL)
  • 25. Cronulla Sharks Water Polo Club (National Women's Water Polo League)