Cape Town - Lions coach Swys de Bruin is not bothered by the fact that most pundits have written off his team ahead of Saturday’s Super Rugby final against the Crusaders in Christchurch.
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The Crusaders, who have won all 20 of their home playoff matches in the competition’s history, are heavy favourites at the bookmakers to win a ninth Super Rugby crown.
Hurricanes coach Chris Boyd, whose side lost 30-12 to the Crusaders in last week’s semi-finals, said the Crusaders are 20 points better than any team.
But the Lions coach has shrugged off the naysayers.
"This group knows me well. We're very blessed to be here, it's an honour for us to be here and we focus rather on the job at hand and the opponents," De Bruin told the Stuff.co.nz website after naming his team on Thursday.
When asked what he thought of Boyd’s comments, De Bruin responded: "I know Boydy from his Sharks days. He's not far off. Everyone can be beaten... anything can happen on the day. But the fact they are favourites is no lie."
De Bruin said there was a lot of character in his side and added that they had learned from their past two final defeats.
The Lions lost 20-3 to the Hurricanes in the 2016 final in Wellington and were beaten 25-17 by the Crusaders at Ellis Park last year.
De Bruin, meanwhile, made two changes to his starting line-up for Saturday's final, which kicks off at 09:35 (SA time).
Cyle Brink, who missed the semi-final win over the Waratahs due to an "arm stinger", returns at flank, replacing Lourens Erasmus who drops down to the bench.
Courtnall Skosan will start on the left wing ahead of Aphiwe Dyantyi, who left the field against the Waratahs due to a hamstring injury.
Dyantyi has been included on the bench.
15 David Havili, 14 Seta Tamanivalu, 13 Jack Goodhue, 12 Ryan Crotty, 11 George Bridge, 10 Richie Mo'unga, 9 Bryn Hall, 8 Kieran Read, 7 Matt Todd, 6 Heiden Bedwell-Curtis, 5 Sam Whitelock (captain), 4 Scott Barrett, 3 Owen Franks, 2 Codie Taylor, 1 Joe Moody
Substitutes: 16 Sam Anderson-Heather, 17 Tim Perry, 18 Michael Alaalatoa, 19 Luke Romano, 20 Pete Samu, 21 Mitchell Drummond, 22 Mitchell Hunt, 23 Braydon Ennor
15 Andries Coetzee, 14 Ruan Combrink, 13 Lionel Mapoe, 12 Harold Vorster, 11 Courtnall Skosan, 10 Elton Jantjies, 9 Ross Cronje, 8 Warren Whiteley (captain), 7 Cyle Brink, 6 Kwagga Smith, 5 Franco Mostert, 4 Marvin Orie, 3 Ruan Dreyer, 2 Malcolm Marx, 1 Jacques van Rooyen
Substitutes: 16 Corne Fourie, 17 Dylan Smith, 18 Johannes Jonker, 19 Lourens Erasmus, 20 Marnus Schoeman, 21 Dillon Smit, 22 Aphiwe Dyantyi, 23 Howard Mnisi