Tuesday Jul 31, 2018

Super Rugby final: Can Lions upset the odds against formidable Crusaders?

Super Rugby final: Can Lions upset the odds against formidable Crusaders?
9
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The Lions will be looking for redemption against the Crusaders in a repeat of the 2017 Super Rugby final this weekend in Christchurch. Swys de Bruin’s men come into the match very much as the underdogs, but are determined to cause an upset against a Crusaders side who have only lost twice all season long.

The South African outfit have produced some terrific tries throughout the season and turned on the style to beat the Waratahs in the semi-finals 44-26.

Despite the in-form Crusaders playing with home advantage in this year’s final, De Bruin believes the Lions, playing in their third consecutive final, can be a match for the Kiwis.

“What is vital is to try and not make the occasion too big this time around and just stick to what works for us and find a solution to start better‚” he said.

“I believe in miracles and this team has proven that anything can happen.

“They are a very good team but there is 80 minutes between four white lines and it is going to be an interesting match.”

The Lions will be hoping to make the most of its two star players on Saturday, Kwagga Smith and Malcom Marx. Hooker Marx has shown sensational try-scoring prowess all year with 11 tries, including two against the Waratahs.

Smith has been equally as impressive and has developed somewhat of a cult following for some years now. The Sevens player, who has ambitions to turn out for the Springboks, has been one of the stand-out flankers this season.

As for the Crusaders, their record this season has been nothing short of remarkable.

Scott Robertson’s side have been the model of consistency, with 14 wins out of 16 in their conference and a perfect knock-out stages.

And if they go on to beat the Lions this weekend, it would be their ninth title and first back-to-back triumph since 2005/2006.

The final takes place at AMI Stadium in Christchurch this Saturday at 19:35 NZ time (08:35 BST).

9 Comments

  •  albertabound
    albertabound

    As unpalatable as this might be for some, I tend to agree with the idea of chucking everyone but NZ and Aus from Super Rugby. Let the SA teams play in the Pro 14/16/18, I for one loved the addition of the Cheetahs this year. Still a long flight but no big time difference, which is really the killer.

    Reply
  •  oldflyhalf
    oldflyhalf

    https://www.nzherald.co.nz/rugby/news/article.cfm?c_id=80&objectid=12100442

    Reply
  •  aeddanberry
    aeddanberry

    I still don't think it will affect the international game too adversely. As we're looking as Soccer as an example; the big clubs are all in the North. Stockpiled full of South American talent, Yet for the most part Brazil, Argentina and others still continue to be better internationally, despite not having a a particularly well moneyed system. Rugby fortunately recognizes that the International game is the biggest draw and have legislated that clubs can't deny any player called upon for an international side. So when there is a conflict we know that WR generally go for a decision that benefits test rugby. I also don't think that players moving earlier is particularly detrimental. George Smith, Kaino, Shane Williams, Haskell have all said their careers have been prolonged (& improved?) by playing in Japan where the physicality isn't quite what it is elsewhere. It's an imperfect system but I don't share your doomsday prediction. I think the be all and end all of rugby will always be the international game.

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    im1 you make a very good point. Still the athletes follow money. If their livelihood come from playing abroad professionally and their national commitments conflict they go with money. Every generation of Southern Hemisphere players is leaving their home union. earlier. The club system in Japan, England and France is not going away and is in fact much more stable and moneyed than Super Rugby. The game in Australia and South Africa is not doing well in terms of spectatorship and youth participation. Global club calendar aligned in regional conferences with a draft. 3 tests a year. I don't like it, but I do think that this is the way that the global player pool will reach an equilibrium.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    No, they won't. There is not enough worldwide interest (and never will be) for a rugby club to become bigger than a countries national side. Champions league football clubs generate their revenue from an vast variety of sources (Is there every going to be a rugby club that signs an partnership and endorses an oil product for example? http://gulfoil.co.uk/gulf-sport/manchester-united/ ). They have much higher attendances and ticket prices/corporate hospitality prices are much higher. The only way for a global club game to work is if the English and French setups become more like the regional (Ireland/Wales) or franchise setups (SANZAR), which in any case are set up in favour of the national side.

    Reply
  •  finedisregard
    finedisregard

    It will happen and it is the future, unfortunately. Global club-based Champions League style play will be bigger than test rugby within 20 years. Clubs will win the club vs country standoff. French, Japanese, English, and potentially American clubs have more money.

    Reply
  •  albertabound
    albertabound

    Pretty sure it will never happen but I would love to see the winners of Super Rugby and European Champions Cup play each other. Imagine Leinster vs Crusaders in a neutral venue!

    Reply
  •  katman
    katman

    I reckon the Lionhearts might just conquer their Third Crusade.

    Reply
  •  im1
    im1

    No

    Reply

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Super Rugby final: Can Lions upset the odds against formidable Crusaders? | RugbyDump - Rugby News & Videos