Player Ratings: GrEIGHT Lion Tamers
OPINION: The Crusaders' defence and breakdown management was something to behold in their 25-17 victory over the Lions in the 2017 Super Rugby Final on Saturday.
Their rush defence put the Lions under pressure while their decision making regarding when to attempt a turnover at the breakdown was almost perfectly executed. It resulted in them maintaining most of the possession and being able to pin the Lions inside their half for most of the game.
Despite being under severe pressure in the second half, they won key moments to bag their eighth Super Rugby title.
Tauriq Ebrahim rates the Crusaders!
15 David Havili
Looked dangerous when he joined the attacking line but his defensive work could have been better. Will be happy to have come away unharmed after being taken out in the air.
14 Israel Dagg
Did not seem comfortable at all from the moment he put in a poor kick. It spiralled from that point as he lost the ball on a few occasions.
13 Jack Goodhue
Fed off Crotty's work rate and while he could have offered more on attack, his defensive performance was top class.
12 Ryan Crotty
An absolutely massive game, good breaks and controlled the defensive line with ease.
11 Seta Tamanivalu
All he needed was three carries to rack up nearly 100 metres and beat a few defenders in the process.
10 Richie Mo'unga
An unassuming performance but it proved effective as he controlled matters brilliantly.
9 Bryn Hall
Takes his time to decide which option to take from the back of the ruck but it has little impact on the eventual outcome.
8 Kieran Read (captain)
A leader in every aspect of the word, even though he may not have been as effective as we have become accustomed to, his mere presence makes an impact.
7 Matt Todd
A menace at the breakdown who seemingly turned the ball over at will to compliment his high work rate on defence.
6 Jordan Taufua
Did not shy away from the physical stuff as he carried strongly and got over the advantage line more often than not, however, he slipped a few tackles.
5 Sam Whitelock
He may just be able to steal line-out ball if you woke him up at 04.00.
4 Scott Barrett
Put in a hard shift on defence and showed an immense amount of support at the breakdowns to ensure good ball for the next phase.
3 Owen Franks
Solid effort at scrum time but seemed a bit lethargic in general play.
2 Codie Taylor
The expectation was to see a more athletic performance but the reality proved he is quite capable of sticking to executing the basics effectively.
1 Joe Moody
Came back strongly at scrum time after conceding an early penalty while his clean-out work kept the Crusaders on the front foot.
16 Ben Funnell (on for Taylor, 57th min)
Took to the field when the Lions began to gain some momentum and stuck most of his tackles in that time.
17 Wyatt Crockett (on for Moody, 47th min)
A similar effort to that of Funnel, although he conceded a couple of penalties.
18 Michael Alaalatoa (on for Franks, 40th min)
Seemed to struggle a bit on defence but the impact he made on attack kept the Crusaders on the front foot.
19 Luke Romano (on for Barrett, 57th min)
A few carries which yielded a positive outcome to go with an outstanding effort on defence.
20 Pete Samu (on for Taufua, 50th min)
Had massive shoes to fill and failed to put in the same effort as the man he replaced.
21 Mitchell Drummond (on for Hall, 40th min)
Brought a new edge to the game as he dictated the play from the back of the ruck.
22 Mitchell Hunt
23 George Bridge (on for Dagg, 57th min)
Attacking chances were minimal as was his effort on defence.
By Tauriq Ebrahim