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Lions unchanged for Crusaders in Super Rugby final

JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA - JULY 29: Kwagga Smith celebrating his try with team mates during the Super Rugby, Semi Final match between Emirates Lions and Hurricanes at Emirates Airline Park on July 29, 2017 in Johannesburg, South Africa. (Photo by Gallo Images/Getty Images)

Johannesburg Super Rugby team the Lions have retained the team that beat the Hurricanes for this weekend’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders at Emirates Airline Park.

The coaches have picked the same side that played in the semi-final against the Hurricanes last weekend.

Akker van der Merwe, if he takes the field, will play in his 50th Super Rugby match.

Lions assistant coach Swys de Bruin said that his team would have to work for their points if they are to beat the Crusaders as they are the most efficient team in Super Rugby. 

“When you do the analysis on the Crusaders you realise why they have been such a strong team over the years. They’re just so much more clinical than the other teams. They hang on to the ball for long periods, they prize that possession, and they really work hard for each other,” De Bruin told the NZRU.

While New Zealand teams are known for playing an expansive game De Bruin, the Crusaders are a more structured game plan.

“They’re an effort team with an excellent defensive system, run by their head coach (Scott Robertson), so in a way they are the most conservative of the New Zealand sides,” De Bruin said.

“The other teams will give you a few opportunities, like the Hurricanes did last weekend (in the semi-finals), because of the way they play, but not the Crusaders… you’ve got to work for your chances.”

Lions

1. Jacques van Rooyen , 2. Malcolm Marx , 3. Ruan Dreyer , 4. Andries Ferreira , 5. Franco Mostert , 6. Jaco Kriel (c) , 7. Albertus “Kwagga” Smith , 8. Ruan Ackermann , 9. Ross Cronje , 10. Elton Jantjies , 11. Courtnall Skosan , 12. Harold Vorster , 13. Lionel Mapoe , 14. Ruan Combrinck , 15. Andries Coetzee

Replacements : 16. Akker vd Merwe , 17. Corne Fourie , 18. Johannes Jonker , 19. Lourens Erasmus , 20. Cyle Brink , 21. Faf de Klerk , 22. Rohan Janse van Rensburg , 23. Sylvian Mahuza