Backs-to-the-wall Crusaders win extra special, says Robertson

Ruben Hill
August 8, 2018

The Crusaders celebrate after winning the Super Rugby final in Christchurch.

The Christchurch-based Crusaders outclassed the Johannesburg-based Lions 37-18 to win their record-extending ninth Super Rugby final on Saturday.

Five-eighth Richie Mo'unga was otherwise licking his lips at the thought of playing in the same star-studded team, supported by a host of players who had made their Super Rugby debut this season.

Frustrated by the Crusaders' dogged defence and excellent lineout defence, the Lions then turned down a chance to go for a try and instead Whiteley pointed to the posts as Jantjies narrowed the deficit to 20-6.

The South African visitors enjoyed almost two-thirds of possession and territory throughout the final, but could not produce the variety of play to crack the Crusaders' defence.

The writing was on the wall early for the visitors when the Crusaders neutralized the rolling maul which has been their most reliable attacking weapon throughout the season, producing 21 tries.

Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, who won the title past year in his first season in charge, said de Bruin's comments were "potentially" an attempt at gamesmanship. It had to be.

Ms Dalziel said the win was a testament to the Crusaders' determination and commitment to their supporters. For us as group it depends how much you care.

"One thing is we have great line speed", he said.

No wonder Crusaders coach Scott Robertson got a standing ovation minutes before fulltime. "They're a fantastic team", de Bruin said.

"We gave it everything out there and credit must go to the Crusaders they were unbelievable". Everything that we threw at them they stopped. "We tried everything, threw the kitchen sink at them and they deserved this win".

"Thanks to the Lions, they were absolutely outstanding and set the pace all year", Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock said.

Robertson added that they had deliberately targeted Jantjies, knowing that if they put the enigmatic flyhalf under pressure he could crack and commit errors.

But the best they could achieve was three points from an Elton Jantjies penalty.

A minute later, Mo'unga had his second penalty and the Crusaders' lead extended to 13-3 as the Lions' scrum was penalised.

A runaway try to loose forward Cyle Brink gave them hope, as he bumped away Matt Todd and fended away Heiden Bedwell-Curtis to score and give the Lions a sniff at 23-13 down after 54 minutes.

The Crusaders were still operating on 30 percent of possession and less of territory at that point but were kept in the match by the intensity of their defense, and their ability to strike back in an instant.

Not even a late yellow card to Ryan Crotty was able to stop the Crusaders, who scored tries to outside backs Seta Tamanivalu and David Havili, lock Scott Barrett and replacement scrumhalf Mitchell Drummond.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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