Crusaders coach: Red card shaped final result
Lloyd Burnard - Ellis Park
Johannesburg - One of the big talking points in Saturday's Super Rugby final was the red card to Lions loose forward Kwagga Smith just before half time.
The Crusaders were 12-3 up at that stage and looking the better team, and the Lions were always going to struggle to get back into the contest once they were reduced to 14 men.
They gave a spirited display in the final 25 minutes and threatened to pull off another famous comeback, but in the end they just didn't have enough time on the clock to get it done.
Crusaders coach Scott Robertson, who has become the first man to win a Super Rugby title as both a player and a coach, said after the match that the red card had an impact on the final result, but that it was the right call.
"I think the process was correct," Robertson said when asked about the decision.
"Jaco (Peyper) was calm, he was clear. He thought it was red, the TMO thought it was red, to the letter of the law it was red ... it's just a shame it happened in a final.
"Kwagga Smith had an unbelievable season and we knew he was a big threat. It's a shame ... it probably did affect the outcome to an extent."
Robertson suggested that the final 20-odd minutes, when the Crusaders were on the ropes, was when the numerical advantage worked most in his side's favour.
"You can't underestimate being up here at altitude, how much of an advantage it is and they played over the top of us," he said.
"With 20 minutes to go the boys were shattered. Mentally it was just so tiring.
"I think it did have an affect on the outcome and it's a shame for the Lions, because they've had some season."