Lions loosies dream big

Lions loose forwards Jaco Kriel and Ruan Ackermann have labelled the clash against the Crusaders "a dream final" but warn that discipline and accuracy will be the key to preventing a potential nightmare.

The Lions host the seven-time champion Crusaders in the Super Rugby title match in Johannesburg on Sunday morning (NZ time), looking to lift the silverware for the first time.

Having pulled off a remarkable comeback semifinal win over the champion Hurricanes at Ellis Park last weekend, No 8 Ackermann said the quick turnaround meant the enormity of the occasion was still sinking in.

"I actually don't think it has hit home what's coming on Saturday ... I think it'll start sinking in on Friday and then, obviously on Saturday morning. Right now we're just thankful we've got this chance after losing the final last year," Ackermann said as the Lions completed a training run at the match venue.  

"It is the dream final isn't it? It's going to be so special, a match between a South African team and a New Zealand team in front of a huge crowd at one of the best stadiums in the world. I don't think anyone must take this match for granted ... it's us against the best team to have ever featured in the competition. We must embrace the opportunity because it's going to be big."

He was looking forward to his personal clash with Crusaders great Kieran Read.

"Can you believe it ... up against the All Blacks captain. That's why we respect the Crusaders so much ... they've got class players in every position."

Captain Kriel felt if they could win against the consistent Crusaders they would prove their worth as the best Super Rugby side of the season.

"The Crusaders are the most successful union in Super Rugby so you don't want it easy, you just want it possible. Last week we had the defending champions and this week we have the most successful team in Super Rugby so it's a really difficult game," the flanker said.

He played down the obvious obstacle in front of the Crusaders in having to dash from Christchurch to Johannesburg and felt their experience would help them handle that.

"The travel factor won't bother them too much. They know what to do, they know what to expect, they have the experience of so many finals behind their back and it's going to be a massive challenge," he said.

Kriel said the Lions would have to play to their very best to win their maiden title because the Crusaders had the ability to expose any errors.

"The Crusaders will always punish you with the mistakes you make, so I really believe we have to be clinical against them. You have to be accurate against them because they will punish you at any opportunity they'll get," he said.

"They are a very disciplined side. They are going to be patient and wait for you to make those mistakes and then pounce on it. We have to be accurate in everything that we do."


Lions captain Jaco Kriel believes accuracy and discipline will be they keys to his team's chances of beating the Crusaders in the Super Rugby final.