Mauling time high in the air

Children from Casebrook Intermediate with the Super Rugby trophy during the during the trophy tour of Christchurch

Flanker Cyle Brink and hooker Malcolm Marx scored tries for the Lions, who suffered their third successive final defeat, having lost to the Wellington Hurricanes in 2016 and Crusaders past year.

Barrett, after all, has played 64 Tests for the All Blacks, half of which have been as the starting fly-half.

Working the ball around the field at speed, the Crusaders got try scoring thrust from Mo'unga who took the ball to the line.

Retiring prop Wyatt Crockett and Bordeaux-bound winger Seta Tamanivalu won't be back next season.

The victory was the ideal sendoff for Wallaby Peter Samu, who will join the Brumbies in 2019.

Coach Scott Robertson, who performed a breakdance routine in front of his players to celebrate, has now led the Crusaders to the title in each of his two years in charge.

"We knew the Lions were going to keep coming and they did".

"It's awesome when the fans come out".

"Three years in a row in the final, well deserved".

Crusaders captain Sam Whitelock, left, and Lions captain Warren Whiteley pose with the Super Rugby trophy on the eve of the Super Rugby Final in Christchurch, New Zealand, Friday, Aug. 3, 2018.

"A bit emotional, to be honest. I'm just really proud", he said.

"We gave it everything out there". It will be the Wallabies' best chance of a victory over their old foe, and after they won their last meeting in Brisbane past year, confidence will be high. "We tried everything, threw the kitchen sink at them and they deserve this win".

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You had the feeling it was going to be a night of disappointment for the Lions early on. The Crusaders were forced to make 180 tackles against the Lions, with flanker Matt Todd making an extraordinary 30 by himself.

But the best they could achieve was three points from an Elton Jantjies penalty.

It was the second successive week Mo'unga had outplayed an global flyhalf.

When given ball, Mo'unga showed what a lethal threat he is, creating both first- half tries. I think we did that and I think our emotion showed in how we defended. "But it is still 80 minutes between four white lines so it will be interesting".

Seta Tamanivalu dives over to score his team's first try against the Lions in the Super Rugby Final.

Smelling blood, the Crusaders quickly spread the ball to the fringes and fullback David Havili crossed the line easily.

It was then the Crusaders fully revealed the qualities of a champion team.

The Lions continued to hammer at the Crusaders to the point that by the time Brink had smashed his way through two tackles and ran 25 metres to reduce the deficit to 23-13 the tide appeared to have turned.

Apart from the combined effort of the pack the contribution behind the scrum of the two halfbacks Bryn Hall and Mitch Drummond allowed man of the final, first five-eighths Richie Mo'unga, to add lustre to his reputation and to provide the tactical nuances to capitalise on even the slightest opportunities that were available.

Their celebrations were short lived however. "It has to be about the team, just about the team and stick to what works for us".

But for the second time, the Crusaders responded immediately as Barrett barged over from close range to see the Lions' faint hopes blow up in smoke. "Defence won it for us last year and it did again this year".

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