Player Ratings: Bridesmaids again
OPINION: The Lions were unable to give coach Johan Ackermann the perfect send-off as they fell short in the 2017 Super Rugby Final, going down 17-25 to the Crusaders at Ellis Park on Saturday.
The home side was forced to play with 14 men for 42 minutes as loose forward Albertus Smith was shown a straight red card for taking out Crusaders fullback David Havili while he was in the air.
The Lions trailed 3-15 at the half-time interval but showed plenty of heart to fight back in the latter parts of the game, to take the game to the Crusaders. The deficit proved too big to close as they suffered their second successive defeat at the final hurdle.
Tauriq Ebrahim rates the Lions!
15 Andries Coetzee
Showed how dangerous he can be when he sets off on a run as he broke through a number of tackles to get his side on the front foot.
14 Ruan Combrinck
It was a mixed bag from the usually consistent wing, especially when it came to his tactical kicks.
13 Lionel Mapoe
Forgot his glue at home as he failed to hang onto the ball in the contact area.
12 Harold Vorster
Not too effective on attack but worked hard on defence to hang onto all of his tackles.
11 Courtnall Skosan
Did not get the chance to show his attacking prowess but would be satisfied with his defensive performance.
10 Elton Jantjies
Two early errors led to the Crusaders scoring tries but came into his own in the second half. It won't be surprising if his BMT is brought into question again.
9 Ross Cronje
Put under a lot of pressure by the Crusaders' rush defence but handled it well with crisp service after getting to the breakdowns quickly.
8 Ruan Ackermann
A proper workhorse performance as he put in big tackles, did well at the breakdown and when he carries the ball, it is poetry in motion.
7 Albertus Smith
Tacklers can't seem to hold onto him when he sets off on a run but his red card just before half-time, whether deserved or not, proved costly.
6 Jaco Kriel (captain)
A perfect display of a captain's innings. Some powerful runs, hard tackles and busy at the breakdowns.
5 Franco Mostert
Can certainly hold his head high with a hard grafting performance in all facets.
4 Andries Ferreira
Put in a hard shift, especially on defence as he came out on top with each attempted tackle.
3 Ruan Dreyer
Endured a tough time at scrum time which knocked his confidence in the other facets of the game.
2 Malcolm Marx
Got over the advantage line with almost every carry to complement a near-flawless execution of his line-out duties.
1 Jacques van Rooyen
Not a good day at the office as his carries proved not too effective while his defensive duties were below average.
16 Armand van der Merwe (on for Marx, 65th min)
Brought some grunt to the game but failed to find his jumpers as he saw his throw-ins poached by Whitelock.
17 Corne Fourie (on for Van Rooyen, 65th min)
It was always going to be a tough task and the replacement prop did all he could to make an impact in the final minutes.
18 Johannes Jonker (on for Dreyer, 65th min)
A fairly sedate impact on the match, despite seeing his side gain momentum late in the game.
19 Lourens Erasmus (on for Ferreira, 54th min)
Had a tough task to compete with Whitelock in the line-outs and he certainly came out second best.
20 Cyle Brink (on for Ackermann, 70th min)
Not enough time to be rated.
21 Francois de Klerk (on for Cronje, 62nd min)
Changed the complexion of the game as he lifted the tempo to hand his side the momentum in the closing minutes of the game.
22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg (on for Coetzee, 54th min)
Did not see enough of the ball to make a massive impact.
23 Sylvian Mahuza (on for Combrinck, 70th min)
Not enough time to be rated.
By Tauriq Ebrahim