We're only too aware of the tortuous path the the Crusaders have trodden to the final. Tonight's match won't be without emotion for the home team either; 2011 started with devastating floods in Queensland, and at one stage, Suncorp Stadium was a lake when the Brisbane River flooded.
But it's been the trials and tribulations of the Crusaders that has been the story of the 2011 Super Rugby competition; Richard Knowler writes in The Press:
Todd Blackadder's head looked as if it would explode.
The veins in his neck were bulging and his jawline was cranking up and down as he vented his fury.
The setting was Eden Park's changing sheds and Blackadder was firing verbal shells at his men after they blew a big lead to lose to the Blues 24-22 in their opening-round Super Rugby match at Eden Park.
The date was February 19 and the Crusaders coach's major concern that evening was the way his men had let the four competition points slip and how he could reboot them into winning mode against the Hurricanes the following weekend.
Three days later, everything changed.
After the quake struck on February 22, playing the 'Canes in Wellington was the last thing the players wanted to do.
Rugby could wait.
The competition points were shared with the Hurricanes and the following week the Crusaders got back to business at a temporary training ground at Lincoln University while the aftershocks continued.
It quickly became apparent their season was going to be a more immense challenge than usual.
Damage to AMI Stadium meant there would be no home games and the Crusaders crew embarked on a crazy ride that took them out of Christchurch every weekend to locations such as London, Nelson, Napier, Timaru and Wellington to host their fixtures.
While the Crusaders' finances were taking a disastrous hit the team was still doing remarkable things on the field.
Their 33-18 win over the Waratahs in Nelson on March 4, sparked a six-match winning streak that eventually conked out when they were upset by the Highlanders on April 23.
Blackadder was without skipper Richie McCaw, who missed eight of the opening 10 matches because of an injured foot and concussion.
Playmaker Dan Carter also missed five matches midway through the season because of a torn hamstring, halfback Andy Ellis broke his thumb, and fullback Israel Dagg's season ended in early May because of a torn hip muscle. When locks Sam Whitelock and Brad Thorn suffered ankle and calf injuries, Reuben Thorne was hauled out of club duties with High School Old Boys and was asked to tour Perth and South Africa.
Then the volcanic ash cloud threatened to ground the team, so McCaw asked a mate to fly them north in an old DC3. The Crusaders beat the 'Canes the next day.
Amid all this drama, Sonny Bill Williams won a boxing fight in Auckland and donated $100,000 to the Christchurch earthquake appeal.
Somehow, Blackadder still managed to keep his team members' minds fixed on the finals.
Just one more hurdle to go. Who would dare bet against them beating the Queensland Reds in Brisbane tonight?
It would be a fitting end to a crazy season.
We've reproduced that piece in full, because there's nothing in that story that can be left out. It really has been a remarkable achievement for the Crusaders to have been able to keep their focus, and win the matches that count. That could be crucial tonight.
Whilst there are many individual match-ups to relish tonight, none will be more pivotal to the outcome than the battle between Quade Cooper and Dan Carter. Cooper was in commanding form against the Blues last week. But that was in a loose match, where he was given plenty of latitude. The Crusaders don't do "loose", and we reckon that the Reds #10 will have a much tougher game tonight trying to shrug off the attentions of Richie McCaw, George Whitelock and Kieran Read. On the other hand Dan Carter started this season slowly, but has got better by the week. He is a player with big match temperament, and if the Crusaders forwards can give him the platform tonight, he could dictate this match.
The Crusaders forwards were absolutely magnificent in Cape Town last week. They scrummed with power, tackled relentlessly, and hit the breakdown with venom. If they can recreate that effort one more time in Brisbane tonight, it will go a long way towards winning an eighth title.
This match should be an absolutely cracking game. The Reds have been the form team of the season, and they will take a power of beating. But if there is one team that wins the matches that matter, it is the Crusaders. We're picking that sometime close to midnight tonight, Christchurch is going to go off, and it will have nothing to do with earthquakes!