Crusaders Clinch Back-to-Back Super Rugby Title over Valiant Lions

Rugby Player scores try

The Crusaders defeated the Lions 37-18 at the AMI Stadium in Christchurch to claim the 2018 Super Rugby title.

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Tries to Seta Tamanivalu, David Havili, Mitchell Drummond and Scott Barrett, as well as a flawless kicking display from Richie Mo’unga secured Scott Robertson’s men a second championship on the bounce.

The Lions simply had no answer to the efficiency and organization of the 'Saders, and, despite boasting the majority of possession and territory, their attack was continually stifled by some unbelievably disciplined defending.

The final was their third in succession after having fallen to the Hurricanes and the Crusaders in 2016 and 2017 respectively.

The game also marked the fourteenth time the sides had met in the history of the competition, with the Cantabrian's coming out trumps in 10 of the previous 13 encounters.

In spite of the final result, the men from Johannesburg came out of the blocks firing and registered the first points of the final via an Elton Jantjies penalty after 12-minutes.

Mo’unga, who had won 23 of the 24 Super Rugby games he’d played since the start of 2017, hit back a few minutes later with a three-pointer of his own before Tamanivalu put his side in front for the first time in the contest.

Ryan Crotty and Kieran Read had set targets in the midfield, and some good hold-up play by Mo’unga allowed the Fijian-born 26-year-old to finish in the corner.

Jantjies was then adjudged to have carried the ball over his own line by referee Angus Gardner following a clearance by the New Zealanders, and Mo’unga sunk another kick after the resulting penalty at scrum-time.

The visitors were then dealt a huge blow after a rather aimless kick by Jantjies allowed Mo’unga to counter, before Havili crashed over to extend his side’s advantage.

The Lions pivot nailed another penalty just before the break, though, as the sides headed for the shed with the score 20-6 in the Crusaders’ favour.

Cyle Brink had recovered from injury to reclaim his place in the Lions’ starting XV, and he justified his inclusion when he broke a would-be Matt Todd tackle to sprint away for his side’s first try after another Mo’unga penalty.

The hosts, who had won their last 14-consecutive matches, never panicked, and hit back again through replacement scrumhalf Drummond after some good interplay between Todd and Cody Taylor.

A Malcolm Marx-try narrowed the deficit after Crotty was sent to the bin for a cynical infringement, but Barrett’s try with 10 to play all but ended the contest to ensure the Kiwi franchise a record-extending ninth title.


Tries – Tamanivalu, Havili, Drummond, Barrett
Conversions – Mo’unga (4)
Penalties – Mo’unga (3)
Yellow card – Crotty

Tries – Brink, Marx
Conversions – Jantjies
Penalties – Jantjies (2)

Crusaders – 15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo’unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (c), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody.
Subs: 16 Andrew Makalio, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor.

Lions Р15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrink, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronjé, 8 Warren Whiteley (c), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen.
Subs: 16 Corné Fourie, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 23 Howard Mnisi.

Written by Shaun Goosen for Hollywoodbets

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