Blackadder: Lions can win Super Rugby
REACTION: Crusaders head coach Todd Blackadder believes that the Lions have the ability to win the 2016 Super Rugby title, after his team were sent packing with a 25-42 quarterfinal defeat against the Lions at Ellis Park in Johannesburg on Saturday.
The Johannesburg-based franchise produced a fine display of attacking rugby as they outscored the Crusaders by five tries to three. Blackadder admitted that his team tried everything to win the game but the Lions were too good for them on the day.
"I think they [the Lions] have been playing good rugby all year, we knew when we played them earlier in the season that we would have our hands full today and they've improved really well. They put us under pressure and took their opportunities so they showed what a good quality side they are.
"I'm really sad for the boys, I mean it's been a really enjoyable year, a great year and when you bow out of the competition it's always sad. I'm really proud of the lads and even though things didn't go our way, we didn't stop trying and you can't ask for more than that," said Blackadder.
The former All Black highlighted his side's poor start and the Malcolm Marx try just before the break as the key turning points in the clash.
"We put ourselves under a bit of pressure and to win finals you cannot give away 15 points in the first 10 minutes. You are always on the back foot and we had to work really hard to get ourselves back into the game. When we did, we probably forced it a little bit too much and it just shows the attitude and the commitment but we didn't die wandering - we had a go.
"It [the try just before the break] didn't help and the other thing that didn't help either was the first up missed tackles and the penalty count. I think the penalty count in the last four minutes was nine to two, so we just put ourselves under a bit of pressure there," he added.
Crusaders captain Kieran Read further added that the Lions played a good tactical game and made good use of the many penalties which his team conceded throughout the game.
"If you look at our defence it probably wasn't the best on turnover ball. The Lions really made some good metres off turnover ball, maybe counter-attack and just exploiting us a little bit. So that's a little bit disappointing.
"I think that played to their strengths too and they had a good scrum today and a great maul. I think the penalty count didn't help us, so discipline was probably one thing that let us down. They were able to kick to the corners and get their maul going," said Read.