We take a look at Sunday’s Super Rugby Grand Final between the Lions and the Crusaders. Being a Grand Final both teams head into the match with good form and this looks to be one of the more competitive Super Rugby finals we have seen in recent years so it should be a great match. View our tips for the Lions vs Crusaders match.
When: Sunday, August 6, Midnight (AEST)
Where: Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg, South Africa
There’s nothing easy about crossing the Indian Ocean and winning a Super Rugby title.
Five teams have made the trip across the Indian Ocean between South Africa and Australia/New Zealand for Super Rugby’s showpiece but on all five occasions the travelling team has failed to lift the trophy.
The Lions know all too well how tough it is after travelling to Wellington for last year’s final and going down to the Hurricanes.
That’s the daunting task ahead for the Crusaders, who despite an unprecedented seven Super Rugby titles, have yet to lift the trophy since their last triumph in 2008.
The Crusaders have come up short in their last two Super Final finals on the road, going down to the Reds in Brisbane, 2011 and to the Waratahs in Sydney, 2014.
They do, however, boast an enviable record in South Africa and have saluted in seven of their last nine trips across the Indian Ocean.
A capacity crowd of 61,500 will pack into Ellis Park in what South Africans are saying is bigger than an All Blacks match if hype and ticket sales are any indication.
The home side takes plenty of momentum into the final after blowing the Hurricanes away in an extraordinary semi-final in Johannesburg last weekend where the Lions turned around a 22-3 deficit into a 44-29 rout of the defending Super Rugby champions.
Although the beneficiary of a dubious yellow card to Hurricanes’ playmaker Beauden Barrett, you can’t take anything away from the Lions who were devastating in the second half as they piled on 34 points to 7.
Defensively, Kieran Read and the Crusaders offer the South Africans a much sterner test and they proved how good they are without the ball with a tackling masterclass against Kiwi rivals Chiefs in their semi-final last weekend.
The Crusaders made an extraordinary 185 tackles to 66 in their 27-13 win, repelling wave after wave of Chiefs phases.
Their defensive pressure and line speed was first class as was their ability to scramble in open play.
History is on the horizon as the Lions chase their maiden Super Rugby title in what will be the fourth time a Super Rugby decider is being held in South Africa since 1996.
The home side will be buoyed by a 42-25 victory over the Crusaders in the quarter-finals last season, but the Crusaders, who dropped just one game in the regular season, will provide a much sterner test this time around.
The Crusaders’ 11,500km trip to altitude into the Lions’ den is a massive test and it remains to be seen if they can overcome that hurdle.
For the Lions, they’ll look to dominate in the ruck and maul while asserting their authority in the scrum which they used to great affect against the Hurricanes.
With Springboks no.10 Elton Jantjies steering the Lions around the park, the Lions are poised to etch their name on the trophy for the first time.
Lions at $1.95
Crusaders at $1.87
Tip: Lions at $1.95
Line tip: Lions +1.5
Tips and Preview provided by UniBet. Read more about UniBet at https://www.justhorseracing.com.au/reviews/unibet