Super Rugby Predictions 2017: The Final

Super Rugby predictions

What a great prospect we have in store for the Super Rugby Final, hosted in South Africa with the Lions facing the Crusaders at Ellis Park.

Lions v Crusaders

It’s not often you get a final which is almost a 50/50 call, and it should make for a great end to the season. The Crusaders have been the best team all year, losing only once away at the Hurricanes. They’ve beaten all the other Kiwi teams home and away, and have been the bookies’ favourites for the title for some time.

But with the Lions coming from behind to beat the Hurricanes last week, they now have to travel to Johannesburg and play with jet-lag at altitude. And they face a Lions team that has also only lost one match, away at the Jaguares, although they didn’t have to play any New Zealand teams during the regular season.

The Crusaders were clinical last week in dispatching the Highlanders and keeping them scoreless, without even offering their opponents a shot at goal. But I feel like the more significant performance was at Ellis Park, where the Hurricanes appeared to be running away with it before the Lions fought back into the game, eventually taking the lead as the Canes ran out of ideas and energy.

And I can see a repeat performance this week, with the travel-weary Crusaders likely to start strongly and then we’ll see if they can hold on as the home team finishes more strongly. Moreover, I’ll be surprised if the Lions give them a similar headstart, and they’ll know that if their line speed is effective early on and their defence holds strong, their speedy attack will cause problems later on.

My Superbru pick: Lions by 4

What is your prediction for the final?

Footnote:
One or two people have written to me to say they are winning their Superbru pools having followed my predictions, and asking if they could buy me a pint. Now, I don’t share my picks for money, I probably drink too much beer anyway, and there’s a lot of luck involved in Superbru predictions, so you can click on the picture of a pint to use Paypal only to assuage any guilt of winning your pools with someone else’s picks.


Or you can just follow Hutch on Twitter: @Hutch_James

4 thoughts on “Super Rugby Predictions 2017: The Final

  1. Firstly the Crusaders have plenty of All Blacks who recall how it felt to draw and lose to the British Irish Lions. They will be looking to make amends.

    Secondly I feel discipline will be the undoing of the Lions. Crusaders fall back and realign with impeccable speed this plus the pressure will most definitely cause an indisciplined Lions team to buckled.

    Crusaders by 13

  2. Finals are high pressure arenas and traditionally close games where the playing fields are level, forget about the previous round’robin games and stats. Nerves, discipline issues and mistakes will be aplenty.
    Lions MUST carry on with last weekend’s momentum, believe in their ability and utilise the Highveld. Crusaders will come with their flair and make a run for it, but the Lions shall prevail and be victorious.

    Lions all the way! Lions by 8

  3. I have to go with Hutch on this one. That 2nd half performance was amazing last week – they simply blew the hurricanes away. Their rolling maul from the lineout was unstoppable. Home advantage, altitude, momentum and a gut feeling that it is going to be their year makes think Lions will take it.
    LIONS by 7

  4. Well maybe I’m seeing double as it’s over now. This is a repeat post it seems. However, Canterbury prevailed.. mainly due to that red? If it hadn’t occurred. Who knows, but I think it was probably a pivotal moment which saw the Crusaders through? The Lions came back as per last week, but, although it was opined that the Canes were ‘blown away’in the 2nd 1/2, their yellow was also surely instrumental in directly changing that game too. Hard to defend with a man down…. even though the tide had turned by then. Just wish Piper had been consistent. E.g., he let a similar ‘tackle’ in the air by the Lions go earlier in the Canterbury game. That the catcher wasn’t f’lipped’ on this occasion, wasn’t the point. The non-catcher has all the responsibility to not hit, or even ‘deflect’, the airborne catcher. Neutral refs? You bet! Interesting as to how the MotM, Crotty, might have fared v the other Lions.

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