CHRISTCHURCH, New Zealand, August 4– Lions captain Warren Whiteley cut an emotional figure after watching his side finish on the losing side in their third consecutive Super Rugby final in Christchurch on Saturday.
The Crusaders, playing in their first home final for 10 years, added their ninth Super Rugby title after running out 37-18 victors in an all-action, high-intensity affair between the competition’s two strongest teams.
The home side proved to be too strong for the Lions, who remained in with a chance of an upset win until lock Scott Barrett barged over with 10 minutes remaining.
Captain Warren Whiteley credited the champions for their dogged defence which laid the platform for the win as the Lions struggled to make territorial and possession dominance count, both early in the contest and then late on as they chased the game.
“Immensely proud,” Whiteley said of his teammates’ efforts talking in the aftermath of the energy-sapping encounter.
“It’s been an unbelievable run for the past couple of years. I’m gutted and to be honest, a bit emotional. I’m so proud of each and every individual, we gave it everything and credit must go to the Crusaders.”
“They were unbelievable today. Everything we threw at them they stopped. We tried everything you know, we threw the kitchen sink at them. There’s no doubt they deserved this win.” (ANA)