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CHRISTCHURCH, NEW ZEALAND - AUGUST 04: Crusaders team mates celebrate after winning the Super Rugby Final match between the Crusaders and the Lions at AMI Stadium on August 4, 2018 in Christchurch, New Zealand. (Photo by Martin Hunter/Getty Images)

Although many predicted it, it still hurt to see the Lions in Super Rugby final three years in a row and three time loosing.

The Crusaders claimed a ninth Super Rugby title on Saturday when they beat the Lions 37-18.

The Lions had such a positive start and many believe that maybe, just maybe they can get over that final line but the Crusaders soon asserted their authority and scored 20 unanswered points after Jantjies opened the scoring with a penalty.

It was the tries from Seta Tamanivalu and David Havili that killed the game from the Lions.

The Lions Cyle Brink and Malcolm Marx crossed the whitewash for the Lions after halftime with Mitchell Drummond going over for the Crusaders again.

The game was sealed by Scott Barrett when he went over for the Champions.

Travel wasn’t the reason why the Lions lost on Saturday. The defeat cannot be pinned on a few questionable calls by referee Angus Gardner either.

Lions were outplayed physically and tactically. And for the third year in a row, defence triumphed over attack.

We won it on defence last year and did it again this year,’ said Crusaders coach Scott Robertson after the final in Christchurch. The ‘it’ could be taken to mean the final or the tournament as a whole.

The Crusaders outscored the Lions by four tries to two in the decider. The ability to transition from defence to attack was highlighted in that match, and across the conference stage.

The Lions ranked second in the tournament for missed tackles (483). Flyhalf Elton Jantjies ranked third in the individual standings with as many as 51 misses.

Jantjies, Ross Cronjé, Harold Vorster, Lionel Mapoe and Andries Coetzee finished the season with a tackle-efficiency rate of 63% or worse. The opposition experienced little to no resistance when running at the Lions back division, especially in matches where the Lions pack was outplayed.

With a better defensive system the Lions would have stand a better chance to beat this great Crusaders team.

Something they can work on for next year as they are a great team and have shown it three years now.

The scorers:

For Crusaders:
Tries: Tamanivalu, Havili, Drummond, Barrett
Cons: Mo’unga 4
Pens: Mo’unga 3
Yellow Card: Crotty

For Lions:
Tries: Brink, Marx
Con: Jantjies
Pens: Jantjies 2

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8 COMMENTS

  1. When I watched the highlights of the 2017 final I recall thinking that if the game was 10 mins longer the Lions would have won it. Some commentator said it too.

    The same happened yesterday.

    Between minute 50 and 58 the game was poised on a knife edge at 23-13. One more score for the Lions and it would have been game on.

    But after that 30-13 and then 30-18 it was as if the fight was out of them in the last 20 minutes and they were just going through the motions.

    I honestly have two beliefs

    1. We cannot expect team to travel these distances and compete effectively.

    2. SR has indeed run its course as Bunny and Bekke have suggested.

    South African sides would be better off playing in the Northern hemisphere

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  2. ps. In 2-17 the only reason the Crusaders won is because the Lions had 14 v 15 for 60 minutes of the game due to injudicious chasing by Kwagga Smith and wanting to be a limelight stealing officious little cunt by Jaco Peyper.

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  3. Bunny refreshing to read that you are not blaming the travel factor or ref for the loss to the Crusaders. I was at the game and in the electric atmosphere there, the Lions did well. They can hold their heads high It was a great final befitting the number 1 & 2 positions of the contenders both on the log and in terms of tries scored in the competition (90 v 89). On attack the two teams were level in terms of metres carried, carries and defenders beaten and although similar, the defence stats do indicate Crusaders superiority as you and Scott Robertson state. The Saders made a massive 203v v 135 tackles by the Lions and only missed 32 of these whereas the Lions missed 28 of their tackles.

    There are no stats that track the Crusaders ability to score points by having the skills and execution to turn defence into attack in an instant and this remains one of the Crusaders strongpoints.

    We are told that Superugby dictates that the home team (Crusaders) have had to pay $75 000, $100 000 and $125 000 to each of the opposition sides they have played in the quarter, semi and finals games played in Christchurch on top of 1/3rd of accommodation and travel costs incurred by visiting teams over the last 3 weeks so the Lions go home without the cup but with a cool million rand in the back pocket. Not too bad and well deserved. They never gave up and pushed the Crusaders right to the end which is something none of the other Saffer or Aussie sides have been able to do this year.

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  4. Oh oh just read your latest comment. Make up your mind Jacques you cannot say in your piece that the Lions did not lose because of the travel factor and then suddenly agree with David! If you really believe this worn out Saffer excuse, how come the Crusaders came to Johannesburg and beat the Lions last year? And don’t give me the east v west travel excuse – kiwi sides also travel east and beat the Jaguares!

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  5. Only the Sader travelled successfully and won

    No other team.

    The travel was always going to be an issue but as David said the Lions has the ability

    For me their defence has been a problem all year and yet again in the final

    I have spoken enough about the SR system and travel in Play-off.

    We have out-lived SR either it must change or we must move

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