Kick-off: 0835, 04/08/2018
Stadium: AMI Stadium
TV: Sky Sports
The Crusaders and the Lions will meet in a repeat of last year’s Super Rugby final and the New Zealand outfit are red-hot favourites to come out on top again.
Scott Robertson’s side survived a late fightback to prevail 25-17 in Johannesburg 12 months ago and should enjoy a more comfortable victory now having home advantage in Christchurch.
We fear this will be a one-sided affair and 91/100 for the Crusaders to prevail by more than 18 points is our first Super Rugby final prediction.
A Look At The Crusaders’ Betting Odds
After losing two of their opening four games this season, the Crusaders have put together a run of 14 straight wins.
They were ultra-impressive when thrashing South African side the Sharks 40-10 in the quarter-finals and then suffocated the Hurricanes in a 30-12 semi success.
Captain Sam Whitelock leads a forward pack full of All Blacks, while mercurial fly-half Richie Mo’unga adds creative flair to a rock-solid back line.
This is a clinical outfit capable of dominating possession and field position, forcing mistakes from the opposition.
A Look At The Lions’ Betting Odds
Whereas the Crusaders have secured a record eight Super Rugby titles, five more than any other team, the Lions are still searching for their maiden outright triumph.
They were hammered 20-3 by the Hurricanes in the 2016 decider in Wellington and again fell at the final hurdle last term.
A regular-season record of 9-7 was good enough to finish top of the South African Conference, but only three of those victories came on the road.
Putting 40 points past both the Jaguares, from Argentina, and Australia’s Waratahs in the knockout rounds shows there is attacking talent in this team, with even hooker Malcolm Marx among this year’s top four try scorers.
However, we just feel they will be starved of the ball on this occasion by a powerful and ruthless Crusaders pack.
For those eyeing an early pay-out, let’s add 43/20 for the first scoring play to be a home team try to our Super Rugby final betting tips.
CRUSADERS 30-12 Hurricanes
LIONS 44-26 Waratahs
Head-to-head: Lions 8-14 Crusaders, Lions 17-25 Crusaders, Lions 42-25 Crusaders, Lions 37-43 Crusaders, Crusaders 34-6 Lions, Lions 7-28 Crusaders
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