Crusaders 37-18 Lions, AMI Stadium
Crusaders continued their domination in the Super Rugby as they went on clinch their ninth title following a 37-18 win over Lions in the final in Christchurch on Saturday.
The result was also a repeat of last season's final where the New Zealand side emerging victorious while Lions have failed to win their maiden title despite being in the final in the last three seasons.
The Lions applied early pressure on Crusaders and as a result, they won a penalty at the breakdown with Elton Jantjies kicking it to make it 0-3 in the 12th minute before Richie Mo'unga levelled the scores with a three-pointer of his own three minutes later.
Momentum soon shifted towards the home side with Seta Tamanivalu powering past Ruan Combrinck to cross over in the 19th minute and Mo'unga converted to make it 10-3.
Even though Lions looked to bounce back through their tried and tested maul, Crusaders negated the threat without a fuss and further extended the lead when fullback David Kaetau Havili touched down in the 34th minute with Mo'unga kicking a penalty and a conversion on either side to make it 20-3 before Jantjies kicked his second penalty goal to reduce the arrears to 14 points heading into the break.
The Crusaders fly-half kicked his third penalty goal at the start of the second half to restore Scott Robertson side's 17 point lead but Cyle Brink produced a moment of inspiration to reduce the gap to 10 points with a 53rd-minute try.
The try gave Lions some hope but a decisive try from Mitchell Drummond at the start of the final quarter calmed the nerves on the home side's camp before they were jolted by a sin-bin to Ryan Crotty in the 67th minute.
With the numerical advantage on their side, Malcolm Marx dotted down in the 68th minute but Lions could not quite press on the advantage and instead Scott Barrett capped off a 37-18 win for Crusaders with the final try.