31 Jul 2017

Lions coach not looking back

1:47 pm on 31 July 2017

The Lions coach says looking back at last year's victory over the Crusaders won't help them in their Super Rugby final this weekend.

The Lions beat the Crusaders 42-25 in their 2016 quarter-final match-up at Ellis Park before eventually going down to the Hurricanes in the final in Wellington.

Lions celebrate their semi final win over the Hurricanes.

Lions celebrate their semi final win over the Hurricanes. Photo: Photosport

This year the Crusaders are back in Johannesburg preparing to face the Lions for the championship title after the South African's marched past the Hurricanes 44- 29 at Ellis Park.

Lions coach Johan Ackerman says there is little point reminiscing about the past.

Lions coach Johan Ackerman

Lions coach Johan Ackerman Photo: Photosport

"The Crusaders are a quality side. Their background, their history. Looking at last year won't help," said Ackerman.

The final will be Ackerman's last match in charge of the Lions before he heads to English club Gloucester and he says it is a dream finish to his four years as head coach.

"That's what I always hoped for, that the day I finished here would be in front of our home fans and on our own field.

Meanwhile Hurricanes captain Dane Coles is backing the Crusaders to overcome the travel factor.

The Crusaders have arrived in Johannesburg, looking to become the first team to win the competition after travelling to or from the Republic for the final.

Dane Coles said he doesn't expect the rigours of playing in South Africa to be a major issue for the Crusaders.

Hurricanes skipper Dane Coles concedes his side were undone by a better team.

Dane Coles Photo: Photosport

"That Crusaders team is pretty experienced. They've got a lot of senior All Black boys who have done their travel a lot of times."

"They know how to travel and they will do everything they can to prepare well and give themselves their best chance of winning the game."

"But being home for the Lions is a big factor - they've got all the home support - so we'll just have to sit back and see how it goes."

Kieran Read

Kieran Read leaves the field with an injury. Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The Crusaders are confident All Blacks Kieran Read and Owen Franks will be fit to play.

Read left the field in the final few minutes of the semi final 27-13 win over the Chiefs with a knee injury while Franks had a sore achilles tendon.

However Read's injury isn't as bad as initially thought and he will be part of the franchise's bid to win their first Super rugby title since 2008.

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach

Crusaders chief executive Hamish Riach Photo: Photosport

Meanwhile poor crowds at the Crusaders' two Super Rugby playoffs this season were a sign that Christchurch's rugby fans had had enough of their temporary stadium, according to the franchise's chief executive Hamish Riach.

About 10,000 people braved atrocious weather last week against the Otago Highlanders, while only about 13,000 turned up in far better conditions for the semi-final on Saturday.

A rebuilt 21,600-seat venue at Rugby League Park in Addington was rushed into action following the 2011 earthquake that condemned Lancaster Park.

It was considered to be a temporary fix until a new multi-purpose arena could be built as part of the city's reconstruction.

"We've been talking about it as a temporary stadium and it's not Christchurch's future solution for major events," said Riach.