Rudolph Jacobs
Rugby Journalist
2 minute read
30 Jul 2018
8:15 am

Lions need a microscope to find any Crusaders weakness

Rudolph Jacobs

But coach Swys de Bruin also believes one or two 'miracles' could hand them a chance of toppling their fancied opponents.

The Lions aren't feeling hopeless before the Super Rugby final. Photo: Gallo Images.

Ranked as massive outsiders ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby final in Christchurch, Lions coach Swys de Bruin admits his side will have their work cut out to find any weaknesses in the Crusaders outfit.

The two teams will clash in the title decider for the second straight year after the Lions beat the Waratahs 44-26 and the Crusaders defeated the Hurricanes 30-12 in the semifinals at the weekend.

“I saw a few miracles (against the Waratahs),” De Bruin said.

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“The bounce of the ball went our way and I’m very pleased that we have a chance against the best team in the world.

“Watching them earlier in the morning (in the other semifinal) they are unreal, so we’ll have to try and find a crack in that armour.”

Another poor start saw the Lions trailing 14-0 before their powerful pack and scrum took over, with their forwards showing they could at least match the Crusaders in this area.

“They came at us with wonderful rugby,” De Bruin said.

“It was not nice to watch but they were so good at the start, we had to dig deep to get out that mud. We never had the ball and they outsmarted us, but once we had the ball it changed.”

While the likes of hooker Malcolm Marx and flanker Kwagga Smith were brilliant in steering the ship, De Bruin said he was baffled by another poor start.

“It’s amazing, even with Rassie and them (Bok players), it’s like they have a go first and then we catch up,” he said.

“It’s not good for my grey hair. It builds character but there was déjà vu.

“I looked at my coaching staff and we just said we must get the ball, as we hadn’t played, but when we started playing there were magic moments.”

Having challenged his team to deliver in terms of effort, De Bruin was pleased with the response.

“I don’t care if you make mistakes, especially when they (the Waratahs) started to go on their knees – the body language – and I made a call.

“Well done to the decision makers for sticking to the plan because when we started tapping and playing, we could play Lions rugby.”

With the Lions scheduled to fly out tomorrow night, there was doubt over wing Aphiwe Dyantyi’s hamstring injury, though flank Cyle Brink could return after missing the penultimate round of the campaign with an arm injury.

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