http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/sport/rugby-gold/the-canterbury-crusaders-are-a-team-rising-from-the-rubble/story-fncb2ezh-1226277586101 Jamie Pandaram from: The Daily Telegraph February 22, 2012
The least of their problems at that moment was the displacement of their rugby team, with home ground AMI Stadium ripped apart.
But as time wore on, and it became apparent the city had lost its hosting capabilities for the World Cup, the Crusaders came to represent a ray of hope for people who had virtually lost belief.
The town found a much-needed distraction from its woes in the plight of the team, which travelled from Timaru to Twickenham and places in between for games.
They fell agonisingly short after making the decider, a feat they will attempt to surpass this year, starting with their first match on Friday in Auckland.
The big difference will be the Crusaders will play their home games in Christchurch this year after the New Zealand government helped fund a redeveloped stadium for them at the former Rugby League Park.
Nearly 9000 residents fled Christchurch following the quake, but not Crusaders skipper Richie McCaw.
"The people who are going to live here are the ones who are going to make (a new city)," McCaw said.
"Hopefully in 10 years' time we will look back, and hopefully things are really progressed and you'll think, 'We have got a pretty cool city again'."
Wallabies coach Robbie Deans, who led the Crusaders to five titles, predicted a rejuvenated side.
"They'll get to sleep in their own beds, their effort last year was remarkable really, not a single home game and yet got so close to winning the title," Deans said.
"It was a pretty impressive effort.
"They will obviously enjoy being around family and friends more so.
"They will enjoy it, that enthusiasm will rub off on them I suspect."
With the Bulls going back-to-back in 2009-10, and Queensland pipping them in the decider last year, this is the longest stretch in the history of Super Rugby that the Crusaders have not been the champions.