CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, August 4 – Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock was delighted with his team’s effort in seeing off the Lions for their ninth Super Rugby title following their 37-18 win in Christchurch on Saturday.
The Crusaders were forced to soak up the pressure early on as the Lions gained a territorial stranglehold on the match. Crucially, the visitors failed to leave their opponent’s half with more than one Elton Jantjies penalty.
Seta Tamanivalu and David Havili then capitalised on some poor defence to send the hosts into a commanding first-half lead. All Black contender Richie Mo’unga was flawless from the kicking tee as the flyhalf continued to weave his magic from open play and strengthen his side’s grip on the match.
Whitelock was quick to praise the defeated visitors for their year-long push to the final.
“They were absolutely outstanding and set the pace all year. To be in the final three years in a row is some achievement and well deserved,” said Whitelock after a Test-match like battle for franchise rugby’s biggest prize.
Speaking after the match, Whitelock placed an emphasis on the boost given by the sell-out crowd as they downed worthy opponents for the second year in a row.
“We were fresh and sharpened up nicely this week in training,” said Whitelock.
The Crusaders skipper heaped praise the home crowd, which turned out in numbers, for spurring his side on to their first home final victory in 10 years. (ANA)