The defending champions are hosting the Lions in this years Super Rugby final on Saturday.
It is a reverse of last years final when the Lions hosted the Crusaders in Johannesburg.
With the Crusaders the inform team this whole season not many gives the Lions a chance to upset the champions at home this weekend.
One must say it will take a special performance from the Lions to do just that but as coach De Bruin said, you do not get onto a plane and fly to New Zealand for a final if you do not believe you can do it.
The Crusaders made one change to their team that beat the Hurricanes last weekend with Curtis coming in for the injured Taufua who broke his hand.
The Crusaders have 19 of the match day 23 that played in last years final.
For the Lions, Skosan will start the match ahead of Dyantyi who is nursing a hamstring injury he picked up last week.
The exciting Cyle Brink is also back in the starting team after missing out last as the Lions openside flanker for the match.
Lions coach Swys de Bruin said it was an “honour” to play the Crusaders in the final.
“They’re a very good team and they deserve to be in first place,” he told reporters in Christchurch.
“We’ll have to bring our A-game and more. Apart from that we have a huge respect for them and what they stand for and how they play. It will be an honour for us to play against them.”
The Lions will have to start the game better than what they have done the past few weeks. With an team like the Crusaders they can not afford to let them get away otherwise it may turn out to be a long afternoon for the Lions.
Allot will be depended on the work horses in the Lions team with Marx that will have to lead the way.
The Lions tight-five have been one of the best all year long and they will need to be at their best against an evenly great Saders pack.
Starving the Crusaders from ball must be the main priority for this Lions team come Saturday.
This get us to the backline….Jantjies needs to step up and control the game. He has been good in the previous two weeks but have again kick possession away too easily.
The defence of the Lions has been a huge question mark in . their game. Although Coetzee and Jantjies have been good in controlling the high ball and tactical game they tend to kick ball away when they under pressure which a team like the Crusaders will turn into points.
The sickness of South African teams kicking turnover ball away will also cost them dearly against the Saders.
The Lions do not need to change anything in their gameplan and stick to what has been working for them this year.
The feeling is that if the Lions have any chance in winning this final they will have to dominate the set pieces and the broken play.
Failing to do so will loose them the game.
Prediction: The South African in me wants the Lions to win and they can but my head say Crusaders by 9.
Crusaders: 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Replacements: 16 Sam Anderson-Heather, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor
Lions: 15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Replacements: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 23 Howard Mnisi
- This game will mark the first time in Super Rugby history that consecutive Finals have been contested by the same teams, with the Crusaders pulling off a 25-17 win over the Lions in the 2017 edition.
- The Crusaders have won nine of their last 10 games against the Lions, including their last two on the bounce; however, each of their last three wins against them has come by a margin of no greater than eight points.
- Two of the last three Super Rugby finals have been won by the away team on the day, including the Crusaders’ victory in the 2017 edition.
- The Crusaders have won their last 14 games on the bounce, the last time they won more was a 16-game streak from April 2005 to April 2006.
- The Lions have won six of their last eight finals games in Super Rugby; however, they have finished as runners-up in each of the last two campaigns.
- The Lions have lost their last four games in New Zealand, scoring an average of just 16 points per game; their last victory in the nation came in Round 2, 2016.
- The Crusaders have missed 20 tackles per game this season, fewer than any other team in the competition.
- The Lions have scored 87 tries this season, more than any other team in the competition but just one more than the Crusaders (86).
- Matt Todd made 21 tackles last round, the most of any player in the semi-finals; he’s now made 179 tackles for the season, which is the most of any Crusaders player.
- Malcolm Marx has scored six tries in his last six games for the Lions, including four in his last three; the Lions’ hooker has also scored two tries in his last three games against the Crusaders.