'We will have to be outstanding' - Mooar

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Thursday, August 3, 2017    Lynn McConnell    Getty Images

Assistant coach Brad Mooar said that by making the final the Crusaders had given themselves a chance and nothing would be spared in taking the opportunity.

Mooar said it had been wonderful to be able to enjoy the continuity of having the same side for the third consecutive game while also having everyone in the squad available for selection when heading into a final.

While prop Owen Franks and No.8 Kieran Read suffered knocks in last weekend's semifinal the management were confident when getting on the plane for South Africa that they would recover and that had been the case, he said.

The side had a core of players who were used to success at Ellis Park and in dealing with the issues of altitude and home fan support and that was very useful for the team overall.

The Crusaders were conscious of the Lions' effective use of the lineout maul and they would be looking firstly to avoid giving them opportunities to use it.

"If we can manage the game properly then ideally we would limit their opportunities to set that platform and then if they do get that we've just got to be smart and tough and be very good at defending it whether that's by challenging the lineout ball or just barring up in the defensive maul side of things," he said.

The forwards had been working on stopping that particular threat in their lead-up to the final.

It would also be important to reduce the time and space available to halfback Ross Cronje and first five-eighths Elton Jantjies to set up their attacking approach but the challenge was being able to achieve that, he said.

"If we can keep their halfback and first five quiet then we're a long way to winning the game but we've got to be fully on the whole time and be really aware of their ability to cause issues for us from all over the park," he said.

The side had no problems with Jaco Peyper as referee, he was used to the environment in South Africa and wouldn't be daunted by the occasion and it was a case of getting on with it.

Mooar said the lesson from the Hurricanes' semifinal loss in Johannesburg was not to throw everything into the early stages of the game as they looked to have blown their legs out too early while taking their opportunities.

But at the end of the first half that was when the game had shifted in the Lions favour.

"We're confident we've got a plan to exert pressure on them and relieve pressure on us and we think we've got the group of guys who can do that. It just reinforced the threats that they have," he said.

They were also aware that the Lions had traditionally been strong in the final quarter of games and from the Crusaders point of view, their ability to save their legs was dependent on how well they were able to control the game.

"If we get our game management right you'll probably find we'll be running to where we want to run and not chasing them around. I'm sure the Lions are going to have some moments and we'll have to take some pressure and absorb some. How we do that and rebound from those sorts of moments is going to be critical," he said.

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