The 2016 Super Rugby final will be in Wellington New Zealand where the Hurricanes will host the Lions from Johannesburg.
Whatever happens on Saturday in the Super Rugby we will have a new Super Rugby champion as neither side has won a title in the professional era.
The Lions have won a Super (10) Rugby title but that was in 1993 when they beat Auckland and this is not considered to be Super Rugby title as Super Rugby in the professional era began in 1996 with the Super 12.
This will be the Lions first appearance in a Super Rugby final and the Hurricanes third appearance as they also contested the 2006 (in the Christchurch fog ) Super Rugby final and last year’s Super Rugby final.
Should the Hurricanes win and take the Super Rugby title New Zealand Rugby will become the first nation to have all of their teams win a Super Rugby title.
The Hurricanes and the Lions have already played the Lions once this season and they beat them 17-50 in Johannesburg. Since then the Lions have improved and are playing with a lot more confidence.
Overall the Hurricanes have played the Lions 17 times since 1996 and the Hurricanes have won 14 matches or 82% of their matches. There have been no draws.
The Super Rugby final will be played in Wellington where the teams have met 6 times and the Hurricanes have won all of these matches. The Hurricanes also beat the Lions in Palmerston North (2000) and in New Plymouth (1998).
The Lions have never beaten the Hurricanes on New Zealand soil and the average score when the Hurricanes play the Lions at home is : Hurricanes 34 Lions 20.
Hurricanes have won the last seven matches between the teams regardless of the venue. This means that the last time the Lions beat the Hurricanes was in 2007.
The Hurricanes have included team captain Dane Coles for this match. He is however bracketed with Ricky Riccitelli and will face a late fitness test and if fit he would be the only potential change to the team that started the semifinal win over the Chiefs
The Hurricanes will also have to make two late calls in the reserves. Openside Callum Gibbins, who missed the semifinal with an Achilles injury, has once again been bracketed with Tony Lamborn, while prop Reggie Goodes has also been bracketed with Mike Kainga as he continues to work through concussion protocols.
The Lions have included captain Warren Whiteley in their starting line up after he missed the Semi-final against the Highlanders. Whiteley comes into the side replacing Ruan Ackerman which is the only change to the starting side.
Wet weather conditions in Wellington which are forecast to be cold, wet and windy. This could play into the Hurricanes hands as they beat the Sharks 41-0 in the quarter final and they showed no signs whatsoever of battling with the weather despite some awful conditions.
No team has crossed the Indian Ocean for the final and won. The Crusaders came the closest by crossing the Tasman and beating the Brumbies. Should the Lions win the title they will be the second South African team to win a Super Rugby title and the first since the Bulls claimed the last of their three titles in 2010.
The match will come down to the Hurricanes defence and the Lions attack. The Lions have scored the most tries this year but the Hurricanes have kept their opponents tryless through the play offs and no one has scored a try against them in 221 minutes. The Chiefs are second in the try scoring stats behind the Lions and they were kept tryless in the Semi-final.
The Hurricanes are a very settled side and haven’t traveled for a month. They will be playing in front of a sold out home crowd and have more experience in playing under the pressure of a Super Rugby final and have learned from last year. It should also not be forgotten that they finished the season on top of the standings despite being in the toughest of New Zealand Conferences.
The Bookies have given the Lions an 8 point start for this Match – with an offer of up to $200 in Bonus bets. The Hurricanes have only lost once at home this season and that was by a point. Home advantage is crucial in Super Rugby and that is what teams play for all year – to be in the final at home. The Hurricanes will have home advantage and a local New Zealand Referee. Everything points to the Hurricanes winning so they should win this by 9.
This Match will be shown on TV in NZ (Sky), Aus (Fox Sports), SA (SuperSport) and in the UK on Sky Sports 3/HD.
Average score: Hurricanes 31 Lions 23
Last five results
30 Apr 2016 Hurricanes v Lions 50-17 Johannesburg
13 Feb 2015 Hurricanes v Lions 22-8 Johannesburg
02 Mar 2012 Hurricanes v Lions 30-28 Johannesburg
04 Jun 2011 Hurricanes v Lions 38-27 Wellington
27 Feb 2010 Hurricanes v Lions 33-18 Wellington
Hurricanes overall record against the Lions
Played 17, Wins 14, Losses 3 , Draws 0
Match No.142 :Hurricanes v Lions
Date : Saturday 6 August 2016
Venue : Westpac Stadium, Wellington
Kick Off local: 19:35 local
Referee: Glen Jackson
Assistant Ref 1:Angus Gardner
Assistant Ref 2:Ben O’Keeffe
TMO : Ben Skeen
15 James Marshall , 14 Cory Jane , 13 Matt Proctor , 12 Willis Halaholo , 11 Jason Woodward , 10 Beauden Barrett , 9 TJ Perenara (c) , 8 Victor Vito , 7 Ardie Savea , 6 Brad Shields , 5 Michael Fatialofa , 4 Vaea Fifita , 3 Ben May , 2 Dane Coles (c)/Ricky Riccitelli , 1 Loni Uhila
Replacements: Ricky Riccitelli/Leni Apisai, Chris Eves, Reggie Goodes/ Michael Kainga, Mark Abbott, Callum Gibbins/Tony Lamborn, Jamison Gibson-Park, Vince Aso, Julian Savea. ,
1 Dylan Smith , 2 Malcolm Marx , 3 Julian Redelinghuys , 4 Andries Ferreira , 5 Franco Mostert , 6 Jaco Kriel , 7 Warwick Tecklenburg , 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 9 Faf De Klerk , 10 Elton Jantjies , 11 Courtnal Skosan , 12 Rohan Janse Van Rensburg , 13 Lionel Mapoe , 14 Ruan Combrinck , 15 Andries Coetzee
Replacements: 16. Armand Van Der Merwe , 17. Corne Fourie , 18. Jacques Van Rooyen , 19. Lourens Erasmus,20. Ruan Ackermann ,21.Ross Cronje,22. Howard Mnisi ,23. Jaco Van Der Walt