The Super Rugby season reaches its climax as the Lions take on the Crusaders in the Super Rugby Final 2017 on Saturday 5 August. Here, we briefly discuss the teams, betting odds and predictions.
The Lions are full of confidence after last week’s remarkable second half against the Hurricanes. The Lions won the game comfortably in the end beating the Hurricanes 44 – 29 and ran in 5 tries in the second half. The Lions have amazing attacking power in their backline in the form of Springboks; Ross Cronje, Elton Jantjies, Combrink and Skosan. The high work rate of their forwards such as Jaco Kriel, Franco Mostert and Kwagga Smith will pose a massive threat to the Crusaders and the forward pack hold key to getting front foot ball for their backline. The Lions last played the Crusaders in last year’s quarter-final comfortably winning the game 42-25 running in 5 tries.
The Crusaders were one win away from the perfect round robin Super Rugby season when they met the Hurricanes in Wellington. This 31-22 loss resulted in them finishing just 2 points behind the Lions on the overall log but they looked mighty impressive with a 27-13 win against the Chiefs to book their spot against the Lions in the Final. The key to the Crusaders success this year has been their ability to shut down the space for attacking teams. Lead by inspiration captain Read they will be looking to rewrite history as no side has ever won a Super Rugby Final away from home. In the backs the experience of Dagg and Crotty will be valuable and the attacking prowess of Tamanivalu needs to be utilised, but one feels that the game will be won or lost upfront. Franks, Whitelock and Read will be vital to stopping the Lions forwards getting over the advantage giving the backs fast ball.
Tamanivalu has scored 7 tries and made 706 metres for the Crusaders this season.
The Crusaders are the most successful Super Rugby team, winning the competition seven times during an era of dominance spanning back to 1998. This is the Lions second consecutive Super Rugby final and they are on a 15 game winning streak in Johannesburg. The travel factor and playing at altitude will affect the Crusaders going into the last quarter of the match but the key to Lions success will be in getting front foot ball and being able to counter the Crusaders rush defense. We expect a tight game but believe the Lions will win by 8 points.
Please note betting odds quoted are correct at time of publication and are subject to change. View the latest super rugby betting odds