Three things the Lions must do to conquer Crusaders' in Super Rugby final

Alex Broun 00:10 30/07/2018
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Sam Whitelock has been superb for the Crusaders.

The Lions face the rugby equivalent of Everest this weekend when they head to Christchurch to try and wrench the Super Rugby crown from the Crusaders’ near-invincible fingers.

Here’s three areas of the game the South Africans must win if they are to triumph:

Breakdown

This is a crucial battle in any match and will be even more crucial at AMI Park.

With referee Angus Gardner in control the breakdowns will be a full on contest with the Australian far more lenient on what you can and can’t do at ruck-time.

The Lions must know when to contest and when they do so – do it with absolute precision.

You can’t just sit back and give the Crusaders unlimited tackles as such is the speed and execution of their attack that they will eventually cut you to shreds.

When the Crusaders get into gear they are an unstoppable machine and the only way to prevent that is winning turnovers to stop them developing momentum.

Defence

The Crusaders are the best defensive team in Super Rugby giving up just 17.6 points per match.

They were the only side to allow less than 400 points in the season (they let in 317) with the next best the Chiefs on 400. (The Lions gave up 484 points at 26.8 per game.)

The Crusaders tackle like their lives depend on it and they defend in a cohesive 15-man unit. They take teams scoring tries against them as a personal affront and defend with the same desperation if they are one point up or 100.

If the Lions are to win they much match the Saders tackle for tackle.

Set-piece

The Crusaders have a near All Blacks pack with seven of the eight who started against the Hurricanes boasting a Test cap.

The only one not-capped was Jordan Tafua who is in the All Blacks squad this year.

If the Lions have any chance they must disrupt the Red and Blacks at the scrum and lineout. But that is easier said than done as the Hurricanes found out.

With captain Sam Whitelock dominating the lineout and Joe Moody, Codie Taylor and Owen Franks in the front row the scrum is almost immoveable.

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