Super Rugby’s reigning champions the Crusaders start this weekend’s final as strong favourites to defend the title they won last year.
The Crusaders host the Lions in a rematch of the 2017 Super Rugby final, although this time, the Canterbury side has the added benefit of having home advantage.
The Lions played their Semi-final after the Crusaders, but the Lions had a day less to prepare and have also had to fly across the Southern Hemisphere.
If home advantage and the Lions having to travel are not enough to swing the odds in favour of the Crusaders, then a glance at the results between the teams is enough to scare even the strongest of Lions fans.
The Crusaders beat the Lions 25-17 in last year’s final and then more recently 14-8.
In both of those matches, the Lions had home advantage and were playing at altitude.
Overall, these teams have met 20 times in Super Rugby and the Crusaders have won all but four matches.
The teams have met six times in Christchurch and the Crusaders have won all of the encounters.
The average score when the Crusaders play the Lions in Christchurch is Crusaders 43 Lions 13.
This will be the Lions third consecutive Super Rugby final which is quite some achievement. However, they lost both finals.
Quite incredibly though, this will be the Crusaders 13th appearance in a Super rugby final since 1998.
The Crusaders have won eight of the 12 Super Rugby finals they have been involved.
The New Zealanders have played four finals at home and have never lost in Christchurch.
Although the Crusaders have been regulars in the tournament’s finals, this will be the first time they have played a final on home soil since 2008.
On average, when the Crusaders play a Super Rugby final at home in Christchurch, they win by a margin of 10 points.
In 2018, the Lions played eight matches away from home, winning three. They have, however, won their last three matches against all opposition.
The Crusaders are unbeaten at home in all 10 games, winning their last 14 matches against all opposition.
The Bookies have given the Lions an 18 point start for this Match. The Crusaders go into this as heavy favourites. They have beaten the Lions twice in the last year and there is little to suggest the Lions can turn it around. The Crusaders should win by 21 or more.
Average score: Crusaders 34 Lions 24
Last five results
Sun, 01 Apr 2018 Crusaders v Lions 14-8 Johannesburg
Sat, 05 Aug 2017 Final Crusaders v Lions 25-17 Johannesburg
Sat, 23 Jul 2016 Crusaders v Lions 25-42 Johannesburg
Fri, 01 Apr 2016 Crusaders v Lions 43-37 Johannesburg
Sat, 14 Mar 2015 Crusaders v Lions 34-6 Christchurch
Sat, 05 Apr 2014 Crusaders v Lions 28-7 Johannesburg
Crusaders overall record against the Lions
Played 20, Wins 16, Losses 4, Draws 0
Match Officials and details
Date: 4 August 2018
Venue: AMI Stadium, Christchurch
Kick Off local: 19:35
Referee: Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 1: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 2: Nic Berry
TMO: Shane McDermott
15. David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Replacements: 16 Sam Anderson-Heather, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrink, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley, 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Albertus Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques Van Rooyen.
Replacements: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 23 Howard Mnisi.