Crusaders v Lions
The Final has arrived after the Crusaders easily held off the Hurricanes and the Lions did the same to the Waratahs after going down early. This is the Lions 3rd straight Super Rugby Final, having lost to the Hurricanes in 2016 and the Crusaders last season.
This is the same fixture as last years final, this time the match being played in Christchurch. In the final last year the Crusaders won 25-17 though the Lions were without a man for a whole half due to a Kwagga Smith red card late in the first half. Surprisingly the Lions rallied and actually won the second half 14-10 but the damage was already done in the first half.
The Crusaders have won 8 of the last 9 matches against the Lions, their only loss being 2 years ago in Johannesburg. The Crusaders have won their last 19 home games and 13 of those victories have been by 13 or more points.
The Crusaders have scored 30 or more points at home this season in all but 1 game. They average 38 points at home this season and average 18 points conceded per game this season. The Lions have won 3 of 8 away games this season, 2 of those were in South Africa and 1 away to the Waratahs. They score a fair amount of points themselves averaging 28 points away from home this season, while conceding an average of 29 points.
The Lions haven’t played in Christchurch since 2015 where they were convincingly beaten 34-6, though to be fair their team has progressed a lot since then; the same can also be said about the Crusaders too.
The Lions have played all NZ teams this season, losing every game. Losing to the Highlanders by 12, Hurricanes by 9, Crusaders by 6 and the Blues by 3.
With all this being said, the Crusaders should win this one fairly easily. They are far and away the best team in this competition and have been building nicely throughout the last few weeks, adding players back into their roster to form a formidable line up. I think being a final and the weather being a bit iffy at this stage I think the plus might represent some value. We may also have a crack at the Crusaders total score on Saturday.
RESULTS STAKES ROI Semi Finals -0.14 2 -7% Quarter Finals -0.28 8 -4% Week Nineteen +4.53 5 91% Week Eighteen -6.15 12 -51% Week Seventeen -3.1 8 -39% Week Sixteen -2.3 8 -29% Week Fifteen +1.1 7.5 15% Week Fourteen -0.38 8 -5% Week Thirteen -3.78 11.5 -33% Week Twelve +1.75 8 22% Week Eleven +9.25 11.5 80% Week Ten +5.5 12.5 44% Week Nine +1.3 11 12% Week Eight +5.84 9 65% Week Seven +5.98 19 31% Week Six +2.64 9 29% Week Five -4.7 9 -52% Week Four -4.4 12 -37% Total +12.66 171 7%