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    Hurricanes duo tip Lions for title

    2017-07-31 18:04

    Cape Town - The Hurricanes leadership group has backed the Lions to win their maiden Super Rugby title when they clash with the Crusaders in the final on Saturday.

    It was the Hurricanes who bore the brunt of the Lions' wrath on the Highveld in the early afternoon last Saturday, going down 44-29 despite leading 22-3 at one point.

    The Hurricanes know what it takes to beat the Crusaders as they are the only side in this season's competition to do so.

    And coach Chris Boyd and captain Dane Coles believe the Lions possess enough quality in their ranks to overcome the seven-times champions.

    "The Lions have got the advantage of playing at home in the final, and that’s big,” said Boyd after his side’s dramatic implosion on Saturday. 

    Meanwhile, Coles said: “The Lions are a quality side and they’ve got great belief in their game ... you saw (on Saturday), they’re a side that never gives us. I’m pretty sure they can go all the way. They certainly deserve a final at home."

    Coles went on to add that the travel factor would affect the Crusaders and the Lions would be buoyed by their home support, who were a veritable 16th man on Saturday.

    “The crowd were pretty quiet in the first half (on Saturday), but the more the Lions got into the game the more vocal they became and they certainly helped to get their team over the line,” the 30-year-old said. 

    “That home support and the fact that the Crusaders have to travel will play a part. That said, the Crusaders, with all their All Black players, are an experienced team and have travelled a lot and will do everything they can to have the best chance to win.”

    Meanwhile, Boyd has pinpointed the battle of the forward packs as the crucial factor in the outcome of the game. 

    “The guys with the small numbers on their backs (the forwards) will decide the game,” said the Hurricanes coach. 

    “The pack that gets the ascendency on Saturday will win it ... and it’s sure to be a good contest because both teams have very good packs. Despite the fact that the Lions play a very expansive game and score a lot of tries when it comes down to the real key part of the game, it’ll be the battle of the packs that decides it.”

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    Fixtures

    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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