Lions charged for 'epic' Final

Fri, 04 Aug 2017 19:25

SUPER RUGBY FINAL: A four-year journey will reach its climax in front of a record crowd on 62,500 at Ellis Park on Saturday.

Lions centre Lionel Mapoe believes said they do not want to disappoint the people who paid good money to watch them take on the Crusaders in the grand finale.

He also believes the emotion of such a big crowd will lift them to new heights.

The Lions will appear in their first Super Rugby final on home ground since Transvaal lost the Queensland in the Super 10 Final in 1995.

They have a massive mountain to climb against the seven-time champion Crusaders.

Mapoe said playing in a Super Rugby Final in front of their home crowd gives the players added responsibility and energy heading into the decider.

"It's going to be amazing, it's going to be epic," Mapoe told a media briefing.

"I think to have a full crowd [at Ellis Park] is going to be amazing," he said, adding: "For the players it also gives them that extra energy."

The Lions will require every bit of extra energy they can muster in order to topple the Crusaders, who have been defensively rock solid throughout their campaign - especially in their 27-13 victory over the Chiefs in the semifinal in Christchurch last week.

This was in a game where they had minimal possession and were required to make almost double the number of tackles compared to the Chiefs.

Mapoe added that the Lions have been focusing on recovery throughout the week and making sure that they are in their best physical condition for battle on Saturday.

"The preparation has been going well.

"We didn't try to do too much or try to do less.

"It is a big week, but I think the vibe will catch some of the players come Saturday, but I trust the guys will channel that energy in a good way - so that we are on our 'A' game," said Mapoe.

Mapoe also paid tribute to coach Johan Ackermann, who will head to England to start a three-year stint with Premiership club Gloucester after the Final.

Mapoe has been a member of the Lions squad since Ackermann was appointed head coach in 2013.

He said Saturday's Final is going to be an 'emotional' send-off for Ackermann.

"We can't change the fact that his going,"the centre said.

"I think the guys are sad to see him leave, but we want to make him proud as well, because of what he put into this team," Mapoe added.

By Josh Isaacson
@isaacson_j
@rugby365com

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FIXTURE GMT VENUE
Fri, 15 December 2017
Ulster v Harlequins 19h45 Kingspan Stadium
Sat, 16 December 2017
Treviso v Scarlets 13h00 Stadio Comunale di Monigo
Montpellier v Glasgow Warriors 13h00 Altrad Stadium
Leinster v Exeter Chiefs 15h15 Aviva Stadium
Racing Metro v Castres 15h15 Stade Yves-du-Manoir
Bath v Toulon 17h30 Recreation Ground
Sun, 17 December 2017
Wasps v La Rochelle 13h00 Ricoh Arena
Clermont Auvergne v Saracens 15h15 Stade Marcel-Michelin
Ospreys v Northampton Saints 15h15 Liberty Stadium
Leicester Tigers v Munster 17h30 Welford Road
Fri, 22 December 2017
Wasps v Gloucester 22h00 Ricoh Arena
Newcastle Falcons v Harlequins 22h00 Kingston Park
Northampton Saints v Exeter Chiefs 22h00 Franklin's Gardens
Leicester Tigers v Saracens 22h00 Welford Road
Worcester Warriors v Leicester Tigers 22h00 Sixways
Sale Sharks v Bath 22h00 AJ Bell Stadium
RESULT SCORE
Mon, 11 December 2017
Saracens v Clermont Auvergne 14 | 46
Sun, 10 December 2017
Exeter Chiefs v Leinster 8 | 18
Harlequins v Ulster 5 | 17
La Rochelle v Wasps 49 | 29
Sat, 09 December 2017
Munster v Leicester Tigers 33 | 10
Castres v Racing Metro 16 | 13
Northampton Saints v Ospreys 32 | 43
Toulon v Bath 24 | 20
Scarlets v Treviso 33 | 28
Fri, 08 December 2017
Glasgow Warriors v Montpellier 22 | 29
Sun, 03 December 2017
Harlequins v Saracens 20 | 19
Sat, 02 December 2017
Cheetahs v Scarlets 28 | 21
Munster v Ospreys 36 | 10
Wasps v Leicester Tigers 32 | 25
Treviso v Leinster 10 | 36
SUPER RUGBY
MORE LOGS
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