Crusaders ready to make history
SUPER RUGBY FINAL: No team from New Zealand has ever won a Final in South Africa. The Crusaders are determined to buck the trend.
The All Black-laden Auckland went down 17-20 to Transvaal in the Super 10 Final in 1993.
The only other time a New Zealand franchise travelled to South Africa for a Final was in 2009 - when the Chiefs were handed a record 61-17 hiding by the Bulls.
The seven-time champion Crusaders will hope to make it third time lucky when they face a gritty Lions team in the 2017 grand finale at Ellis Park on Saturday, knowing they will have to be at their absolute for 80 minutes and more.
Crusaders inside centre Ryan Crotty believes his teammates have it in them to break New Zealand's Super Rugby duck on South African soil.
The Crusaders will not only go into battle against the fast-paced Lions, they will also have to deal with the effects of altitude and a capacity 62500 spectators at Ellis Park.
Crotty will be looking to continue his fine run of form - which has seen him score five tries in his last two games.
He also has a hat-trick against the Johannesburg-based team - in the Crusaders' 43-37 victory over the Lions in a 2016 season match.
"I've been pretty lucky the last few times," Crotty said.
"I think I've been the right man in the right place at the right time for a couple of those tries but I just go out there and do my job, but my jobs not to go out there and score tries but to just do my role in the team and if a try comes on as a part of that then happy days,” Crotty told journalists at the team hotel in Johannesburg on Thursday.
Crotty added that the Crusaders are prepared to take the game into extra time in order to get the victory which will earn them their first Super Rugby title since beating the Waratahs 20-12 in the Super 14 final at AMI Stadium in Christchurch in 2008.
"A good starts is always key," the midfielder said, adding: "We've started well all year, but we've got to be able to play for 85 to 90 minutes - as long as it takes - to get the win.
"We will go out there and we will take it moment by moment and just enjoy the challenge," explained Crotty.
By Josh Isaacson