Boyd: Forward battle key in Final

Sun, 30 Jul 2017 13:15

SUPER RUGBY SEMIFINAL REACTION: The contest between the forward packs will be decisive when the Lions host the Crusaders in the Final at Ellis Park this coming Saturday.

Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd pointed the performance of the forwards as key in the Final, after they suffered a 29-44 loss to the Lions in Johannesburg at the weekend.

The Crusaders managed to beat the Chiefs 27-13 in the other semifinal at the weekend.

The Lions came back from being 3-22 down to race past the defending champion Hurricanes - the Johannesburg-based franchise becoming only the second South African team to appear in back-to-back Super Rugby finals.

The Hurricanes were the only team to beat the Crusaders during the 2017 Super Rugby regular season and having guided the Hurricanes to the Super Rugby title in 2016, Boyd will have a good idea what is required to win in a Final.

"I think the forward pack that gets the ascendancy will probably win," Boyd told a post-match media briefing at Ellis Park.

so I think it will be a good contest, because they've both got very good packs."

Boyd added that both the Lions and the Crusaders have similar strengths to their game which makes for a fascinating and evenly contested Final.

"I think the Crusaders have strengths in different areas and their strengths are more in line to the strengths of the Lions," explained Boyd.

The Crusaders have plenty of experience among their forwards - with the likes of captain and All Black lock Samuel Whitelock leading the charge alongside All Black captain and No.8 Kieran Read.

Hurricanes captain and hooker Dane Coles felt the Crusaders have enough experience in their team to deal with the travel factor.

The Crusaders left New Zealand on Sunday and will arrive in Johannesburg on Monday.

"That Crusaders team is pretty experienced," Coles said, adding: "They've got a lot of All Black boys that have travelled a lot of times, so they know how to travel.

"They will make sure they do everything they can to prepare well and make sure they come out and give themselves their best chance of winning the game."

Coles added that the Lions home ground advantage will give them an extra boost for the Super Rugby Final.

"Being at home for the Lions is a big factor.

"They've got all the support, so just have to sit back and watch and see how it goes," added Coles.

By Josh Isaacson, at Ellis Park

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Fri, 25 August 2017
Pumas v Blue Bulls 17h00 Nelspruit
Sat, 26 August 2017
New Zealand v Australia 07h35 Dunedin
Western Province v Sharks 13h00 Newlands
Free State Cheetahs v Golden Lions 15h15 Bloemfontein
Argentina v South Africa 17h30 Padre Ernesto Martearena Stadium
Pool AU
Team P W D L Pts
Brumbies 15 6 0 9 34
Force 15 6 0 9 26
Reds 15 4 0 11 21
Waratahs 15 4 0 11 19
Rebels 15 1 1 13 9
Pool NZ
Team P W D L Pts
Crusaders 15 14 0 1 63
Hurricanes 15 12 0 3 58
Chiefs 15 12 1 2 57
Highlanders 15 11 0 4 51
Blues 15 7 1 7 37
Pool SA1
Team P W D L Pts
Stormers 15 10 0 5 43
Cheetahs 15 4 0 11 21
Bulls 15 4 0 11 20
Sunwolves 15 2 0 13 12
Pool SA2
Team P W D L Pts
Lions 15 14 0 1 65
Sharks 15 9 1 5 42
Jaguares 15 7 0 8 33
Kings 15 6 0 9 28