Mon, Jul 30, 11:56am by Staff Writer
The 2018 Super Rugby Grand Final will take place in Christchurch on Saturday night and is a rematch of the 2017 final, with the Crusaders hosting the Lions.
Canterbury utilised their top-seeded in the competition to book a home Grand Final after a dominant 30-12 win against rivals, the Hurricanes.
The Crusaders are $1.07 to win the title on Saturday night and start the match as 18.5-point favourites.
The home side dominated possession in the first half, amassing over 70 per cent of the ball.
An exchange of early tries between the sides, with Richie Mo’unga scoring for the hosts and Julian Savea crossing for the Canes had the scores locked at seven-all after the first quarter of the game.
A George Bridge try and two penalty goals late in the first-half gave the Crusaders a handy nine-point buffer at the half.
They started the second half in blistering form, scoring a try in the 43rd minute through David Havili.
A 69th minute five-pointer by Braydon Ennor sealed the result, with a late Hurricanes consolation try doing little to flatter the visitors.
The Crusaders have been the team to beat all season and are seeking their ninth Super Rugby crown.
They are already the most successful team in the history of the competition, but won’t be taking the Lions lightly ahead of this weekend’s final.
The Lions are priced as an $8.50 shot of winning the match and their first Super Rugby crown.
They dispatched of the Waratahs on Saturday night in Johannesburg 44-26 in front of a raucous home crowd.
The Tahs got off to a wonderful start with two converted tries inside 10 minutes giving the visitors a 14-0 advantage.
Tries to Kwagga Smith, Aphiwe Dyantyi and Malcolm Marx changed the momentum of the match for the Lions, giving them the lead just before half time.
Tom Robertson crossed for a rare try after a wonderfully executed set play from the lineout just before half-time for the Tahs to lock the scores up at 19-apiece at the break.
The second half was one dominated by the Lions. With the Tahs travelling from Sydney and playing at altitude, the real test was going to be how they coped with the difficult conditions.
A 57th minute yellow card to Damien Fitzpatrick did not held the visitors cause, with the hosts scoring two tries in that span to put the game beyond doubt.
The Lions scored 25 points to seven in the second half to record an 18-point victory.
The 2018 Super Rugby Grand Final takes place on Saturday, 4 August at 5.35pm AEST at AMI Stadium, Christchurch.
Super Rugby Grand Final Odds – Sportsbet
Crusaders $1.08 Lions $8.50
Line: Crusaders -18.5 $1.90
Margin: Crusaders 1-12 $3.75, 13+ $1.45
Lions 1-12 $9.50, 13+ $26
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