Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
31 Jul 2017
9:33 am

Lions can win Super Rugby, says Hurricanes skipper

Rudolph Jacobs

Dane Coles sings Johannesburg Pride's praises but coach Chris Boyd takes a swipe at Sanzaar over its referees.

Hurricanes skipper Dane Coles. Photo: Gallo Images.

The Lions have good reason to feel optimistic about winning their first Super Rugby title at Ellis Park this weekend, according to Hurricanes captain Dane Coles, after his team were eliminated in the semifinals on Saturday.

Though Coles warned that the Crusaders would be a tough team to beat, even at altitude in front of a crowd which was expected to be packed to the rafters, he believed the Lions could hold a slight edge.

Also read: Super Rugby: Lions player ratings – Bully Jacques, steely Elton

“I think the biggest plus going for the Lions is that they have a great belief in their own abilities,” Coles said after his side lost 44-29 in front of 32 000 spectators at Ellis Park.

“I’m sure they can go all the way as they are a real quality outfit.”

Coles, however, was also quick to point out that the Crusaders, led by All Black skipper Kieran Read, would be loaded with international players.

They had also only been beaten once the entire season.

“They have done this travelling quite a few times and that Crusaders team has quite a lot of All Black players in it,” he said.

While no team had yet crossed the Indian Ocean to win the final, the Crusaders were set to bring tons of experience after lifting the title 14 out of a possible 21 times.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd believed it would come down to how well the Lions could match up to the big Crusaders pack.

“The battle of the forward packs will definitely decide the contest and I think the pack which manages to get the upper hand will eventually win the final,” Boyd said.

“The team playing at home will always have an advantage because they don’t have to travel, but the Lions earned that advantage.”

Though Boyd could not comment on the performance of referee Jaco Peyper, he felt the yellow card given to flyhalf Beauden Barrett in the 58th minute had definitely played a massive role in the game.

“I wonder if Sanzaar have the best referees in all the right places,” he said.

For more sport your way, follow The Citizen on Facebook and Twitter