Whiteley: I've always looked up to Kieran Read
Cape Town - Lions skipper Warren Whiteley says he has always admired Crusaders and All Blacks captain Kieran Read.
The two No 8s will meet in Saturday's Super Rugby final in Christchurch where Whiteley's Lions will be massive underdogs in their effort to finally get over the line.
It is the third tournament final in as many years for the Lions, and if they are to stun the Crusaders they will need to overcome what Whiteley believes to be the biggest challenge in Super Rugby today.
is why you play the game ... for opportunities like this," Whiteley said.
"We've got huge respect for the Crusaders and what they do."
Turning his attention to Read, Whiteley said he had a lot of respect for the 32-year-old, who has recovered from a serious back injury this year.
"He's phenomenal," Whiteley said.
"He's the world's best No 8 and he's consistent. I think all round he is a phenomenal player.
"He's one of the guys I've looked up to in my career and he plays a huge role in this Crusaders team.
"He is a guy I' really respect along with a lot of the Crusaders players."
Kick-off on Saturday is at 09:35 (SA time).
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