Super Rugby: Lions vs Crusaders Preview

Super Rugby 2018: Crusaders v Bulls Preview


It will be a repeat of last seasons Super Rugby final when the Lions host the Crusaders this Sunday the 1st of April. 

With both teams at the top half of the overall standings table and with the Lions having played an extra game. None can afford to lose this match as the Hurricanes, Chiefs, and Highlanders are finding momentum.

Lions vs Crusaders
Emirates Airline Park
Sunday 1 April 2018
14:30


To Win (80 mins)
Lions 2/1
Draw 25/1 
Crusaders 4/10

Handicap
Lions (+7.5) 9/10
Crusaders (-7.5) 9/10

Lions

After that narrow loss to the Blues three weeks ago, the Lions have taken a dip in form, with a narrow win against the Sunwolves on home soil, followed by a loss in Argentina to the Jaguares, a venue they have failed to break their hoodoo.

They certainly don't have a bad team but their latest results are a concern. And many pundits don't count their win against the Sunwolves as that's a team the Lions should've have blown out the water.

Players to watch

With the six week absence of Dyantyi after suffering a torn pectoral muscle after the loss to the Jaguares in Argentina. Rohan Janse van Rensburg is more than equipped in the utility back position to have an impact on defence and attack.  Malcolm Marx came on as a substitute to score twice against the Jaguares. His physicality and management of rucks and mauls will be crucial come Sunday.

Crusaders

Defending champs top the New Zealand conference and are third in the overall standings after five matches. Although they struggled against the Hurricanes (29 - 19) and Highlanders (25 - 17 ) the Crusaders ended their two-match losing streak with a 33 - 14 win over the Blue Bulls. Although the Bulls dominated possession and camped in the 'Saders 22, the latter were more clinical when given the opportunity. Travelling to Johannesburg to face the Lions won't be easy in front of a packed Emirates Airline park.

Players to watch

Scott Barrett, the towering lock will be a handful in the lineouts, rucks, and driving mauls. Also equipped with a good offload game and strong defence, Barrett should make an impact this weekend. George Bridge and Ryan Crotty, the backline players should make the most impact against the Lions. With the ability to execute set pieces at the highest level, strong defence, and creativity, the pair will run hard at the Lions this Sunday.

Verdict: Crusaders (-7.5) 9/10
It will be a tough fixture for both teams, but I don't see the Lions toppling the Crusaders although they'll be on home soil. Based on their recent results the Lions will face a tough task and I'll have a small strike on the minus.

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