Sports

Third time unlucky for the Lions - 05-Aug

Third time unlucky for the Lions - 05-Aug

The Crusaders successfully defended their Super Rugby title as a 37-18 home victory handed the Lions more final pain at AMI Stadium.

Last year, when they were not expected to win in Johannesburg, he was elated but winning at home on Saturday was different.

Barrett, after all, has played 64 Tests for the All Blacks, half of which have been as the starting fly-half.

A week after outplaying back to back world player of the year, Beauden Barrett, Mo'unga scored 17 points from the kicking tee and played a prominent role in three of the Crusaders' tries.

The victory was the flawless sendoff for Wallaby Peter Samu, who will join the Brumbies in 2019.

Robertson celebrated his team's ninth Super Rugby title with his trademark breakdancing routine - much to players' and spectator's delight.

Few of the Crusaders will be involved in that but, with the bulk of the starting pack coming from the Crusaders, plus midfielder Ryan Crotty and possibly Jack Goodhue, the franchise will make up the lion's share of the squad and will be expected to quickly switch into test mode.

Whiteley said it was tough having been beaten three times in a row in the finals and then added.

Again the Crusaders responded immediately after the Lions interrupted a prospective move by putting the ball into touch.

The Crusaders struck back through Mitchell Drummond.

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"A bit emotional, to be honest". I'm just really proud - when we had nine All Blacks out and we beat the Chiefs away.

"We gave it everything out there".

"Credit to Sam and his team, they were unbelievable", he said. (We) pretty much did everything that we could and they were just very good. "We had about 70 per cent possession, we really did give it everything... but they're a championship side and they deserve this win". Attempting to be patient the Lions dropped the ball and the Crusaders cleared.

The lost opportunity was the story of the night for the Lions.

From a long downfield kick by Mo'unga after a mark, the ball didn't cross the goalline but Jantjies pressed the ball for a 22m dropout.

His first moment of class occurred in the 20th minute as he delayed a pass on the fringes before cutting out two defenders and finding departing All Black Seta Tamanivalu on the wing, who showed too much strength to score out wide. "But it is still 80 minutes between four white lines so it will be interesting".

The loss of their rolling maul - the key element in the Crusaders win - was the biggest blow to the Lions, as were two crucial elements that made a difference at crucial times in the game, and both involved flyhalf Elton Jantjies.

In one dig at the Crusaders, de Bruin suggested their success might be due in part to generous treatment for New Zealand teams from referees.

After Jantjies and Mo'unga traded penalties either side of half-time, Cyle Brink scored the Lions' first try to close the gap to 23-13.


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