Lions 17-25 Crusaders, Emirates Airlines Park
A late fightback from Lions despite being one man down did not prove enough as Crusaders completed a 17-25 victory at Emirates Airlines Park to win the Super Rugby 2017 title.
This is Crusaders' first title win in nine years and eighth overall while Lions have finished runners-up for the second consecutive time.
Seta Tamanivalu opened Crusaders' account with an early try in the seventh minute while Richie Mo'unga slotted the conversion. The visitors further stepped up the accelerator after centre Jack Goodhue strolled past the post in the 11th minute as they stretched the lead to 12 points.
Lions finally managed to get off the mark with a 26th minute penalty from Elton Jantjies but the home side suffered a major setback when flanker Kwagga Smith was sent-off for tackling David Havili in the air. Mo'unga's penalty at the stroke of half-time restored the 12 point lead for Crusaders.
Crusaders capitalised on the advantage of having an extra man as Kieran Read went past the line at the start of the second half while Mo'unga added a conversion and a penalty to make it 3-25 at the end of the third quarter.
Even though Malcolm Marx and Corne Fourie added tries in the 63rd and 72nd minutes respectively, Lions succumbed to a eight point defeat as Crusaders were rewarded for their consistent performance this season.