Its finally here folks, the Super Rugby Final. Lions host the Crusaders at Emirates Airline Park on Saturday – build up starts at 16:00pm
Most people believe that the Lions have had an easier path in 2017 than in 2016 season, those people are quick to forget that the same Lions team made Super Rugby Final playing New Zealand teams home and away in the 2016 Season.
Ackerman's men have only lost one game this season, that was against Jaguares in Argentina. Sharks have come close twice but didn't possess enough sting to topple the Johannesburg side. This weekend they face Scott Robertson's Crusaders, a team loaded with Allblacks and not just any Allblacks, its mostly senior Allblack players.
The selection of South African Referee, Jaco Peyper doesnt sit well with New Zealanders. Well theyll just have to take it on the chin because Peyper is more qualified than any other ref in the Southern Hemisphere.
Apart from a few injury scares from Read and Franks from last weeks Semi-Final against the Chiefs, everyone else seems to be niggle free.
Starting with forwards –
I think front row from both teams will be crucial at scrum time with Ben Franks coming up against Jacques van Rooyen. Mostert vs Whitelock is an important contest at Line-Out time, as they will also meet again during Rugby Championship.
Matt Todd vs Kwagga Smith will be a key battle on the deck
In the Backs: Cronje and Jantjies need to continue where they left off last weekend against the Hurricanes.
Midfield battle between, Vorster, Mapoe vs Crotty and Goodhue
Full-Back position will be in the spot light on Saturday, kicking game, positioning and aerial skills will be tested.
Emirates Airline Park:
Lions have home advantage, Crusaders have plenty of experience in their team, they have players that have won on the very same field, numerous times playing for the Allblacks.
A Lions win is a moral and confidence boost for Springbok Rugby.
A Crusaders loss, "ALARM BELLS" for NZ Rugby.
Difficult match to predict, Lions can be found wanting at times, against the Cheetahs in their first SR game, against the Sharks twice but i think the 60 000 strong Lions supporters will see them through for a 5 point win on Saturday.
Predicted Starting Line-Up:
I don't see the two sides changing anything from their semi-final starting line up. Lions might add Van Rensburgh in midfield in place of Vorster.
Lions: 15. Coetzee 14. Combrinck 13. Mapoe 12. Vorster/ Van Rensburgh 11. Skosan 10. Jantjies 9. Cronje 8. Ackerman 7. Smith 6. Kriel 5. Mostert 4. Ferreira 3. Dreyer 2. Marx 1. Van Rooyen
Crusaders: 15. Havili 14. Dagg 13. Goohue 12. Crotty 11. Tamanivalu 10. Mo'unga 9. Hall 8. Read 7. Todd 6. Taufua 5. Whitelock 4. Barrett 3. Franks 2. Taylor 1. Moody