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    Cronje: Crusaders have vulnerabilities

    2017-08-04 16:45

    Lloyd Burnard - Johannesburg

    Johannesburg - Ross Cronje, man of the match in the Lions' already famous semi-final win over the Hurricanes in Johannesburg last weekend, believes the Lions have identified a couple of weak spots in the Crusaders' game ahead of Saturday's Super Rugby final.  

    Against the Hurricanes, Cronje was courageous on defence, he kicked well, distributed effectively and even got on the score sheet with a sniping try at what was a crucial moment. 

    With the Lions 22-3 down in the first half, the Springbok scrumhalf played a pivotal role in what was one of the greatest Super Rugby playoff comebacks of all time. 

    Now, Cronje is eyeing the Super Rugby title, and while he knows that there is still a massive task at hand in the form of the Crusaders, he looked a confident figure when addressing media at Ellis Park on Thursday.

    "Clinically, they're a great team," said Cronje.

    "They can punish you on turnover ball, they have a great counter attack and they've got ball players.

    "They have out-muscled a lot of teams, so it's going to be massive for our forward to front up this weekend."

    But, without giving anything more away, the 28-year-old added that there were a couple of weak spots the Lions were targeting. 

    "They are vulnerable in one or two areas of the game and hopefully we can exploit that," said Cronje.

    "The amount of All Blacks they have in their pack says something for itself. Stats don't lie ... it's going to be a massive challenge for our forwards to come up against something like that this weekend.

    "I believe we've got the players that will man up to them."

    With the Crusaders having built up a reputation for being a side that can slow opposition ball down and play at their own pace, how the Lions control the tempo of the match when in possession is considered key. 

    "If I need to speed it up, I will speed it up and if I need to slow it down, same thing. I've been working on that for the last couple of years," Cronje said.

    "During the week we identify attack and defensive strategy and then we execute.

    "It makes my life a lot easier knowing how we want to play and what pace we want to play. It all depends on the team we're playing against."

    Teams:

    Lions

    15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrinck, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Ruan Ackermann, 7 Kwagga Smith, 6 Jaco Kriel (captain), 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Andries Ferreira, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen

    Substitutes: 16 Akker van der Merwe, 17 Corne Fourie, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Cyle Brink, 21 Faf de Klerk, 22 Rohan Janse van Rensburg, 23 Sylvian Mahuza

    Crusaders

    15 David Havili, 14 Israel Dagg, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 Seta Tamanivalu, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Jordan Taufua, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody

    Substitutes: 16 Ben Funnell, 17 Wyatt Crockett, 18 Mike Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 George Bridge

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    Saturday, 17 February 2018
    • Stormers v Jaguares, Cape Town 15:05
    • Lions v Sharks, Emirates Airlines Park 17:15
    Friday, 23 February 2018
    • Highlanders v Blues, 08:35
    • Rebels v Reds, AAMI Park 10:45
    Saturday, 24 February 2018
    • Sunwolves v Brumbies, Prince Chichibu Memorial Stadium 06:15
    • Crusaders v Chiefs, 08:35
    • Waratahs v Stormers, Allianz Stadium 10:45
    • Lions v Jaguares, Emirates Airlines Park 15:05
    • Bulls v Hurricanes, Loftus Versfeld 17:15

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